Poem: ‘Elective Affinities: Ghazal of the Muon’

Edited by Dava Sobel

Elective Affinities: Ghazal of the Muon

“Long-Awaited Muon Measurement Boosts Evidence for New Physics”

— Scientific American, April 7, 2021

The Muon’s aberrant behavior, an extended quantum particle wobble,

upends the Standard Theory, creating in Physics an existential wobble.

Normally a wavelike excitation, spinning through Higgs’s gravitational field, unless

caught and entangled in a moment of viable wobble,

endowed with inertia and mass by its fellow particles’ embrace—a short-

lived liaison, alas, for it soon dissipates in an unavoidable wobble.

Mathematical equations calculate how long the Muon dance goes on,

what fraction of a millisecond until its final metaphysical wobble.

The calculations are precise, just wrong. Held in the mesh of gravity and spin, a skein of

quantum magnetic charge, the Muon persists, outlives its foreseeable wobble.

In the pull and twitch of particle affinities—knitting and purling the fabric of the universe—

something has not been accounted for that prolongs the Muon’s mortal wobble.

This flouting of what we think we know requires us to think again, to ponder what unknown

matter, lepton, quark or boson explains the Muon’s extendable wobble.

The enigma entwines us all. In our own life’s brief entanglement, anchored between infinities

small and large, we, too, hover, then fade, in a final fatal wobble.

Do we then spin on, subatomized, in the quantum particle soup? Does

immortality in fact exist in the blips of an electromagnetic celestial wobble?