Professor Dagmar Itty mopped his brow
And squinted at his notes – a cryptic scrawl.
He cleared his throat and in a nervous voice
Addressed the overflowing lecture hall.
‘This morning’s talk should really be about
Cycloidal drives and epicyclic gears,
But since I’ll be retiring Friday week
I thought I’d stray off topic.’ (Raucous cheers)
‘I’ve been a fellow here since eighty-nine.
The day that I arrived I made a vow
To spend my leisure time indulging in
A project I’ve kept secret – until now.’
The students all leant forward in their seats.
Professor Itty’s hobby was the buzz,
A subject of debate; a hundred bets
Were placed this week alone on what it was.
‘So let me share with you,’ proclaimed the Prof,
‘This formula I’ve found; it’s very neat,
Although you’d be advised to stand well back,
Because it does produce a bit of heat.’
I tried to follow everything he did
But it was so involved I soon lost track.
I looked around at everybody else;
Like me, their eyes were glazed, their jaws were slack.
Then suddenly a blinding flash of light,
A sonic boom, a muffled cry of ‘Duck!’
And when I stood back up the sight I saw
Punched out my breath and left me thunderstruck.
A hundred thousand glowing points of light
Hung silently about us in the hall
Each one a slightly different shape and size –
Some spiral, some elliptical, but all
Rotated slowly as they moved apart.
‘Each one’s a galaxy,’ explained the Prof.
‘I’ve just designed a whole new universe,
And now I need some serious time off.’
© Helen Lewis 2010