Science Carols



Can you hear that? That’s the sound of almost every retail store in Canada stopping their usual slew of pop songs to allow for a new monopoly to take over. Christmas tunes are some of the most paradoxical songs out there. Some days you listen to them and a warm feeling of nostalgia flows through you. Others, the sound of some artist’s “new” rendition of a carol you’ve heard a million times can become the metaphorical straw that snapped the gift-laden camel’s back in a season already wrought with stress. With Christmas music and rhymes taking over the airwaves sooner and sooner each year, perhaps some truly novel alterations are in order. Just imagine taking these familiar rhythms and throwing in some new material to spruce up old classics. Like, what if we took a break from pitying Rudolph and focused on a more deserving soul, whose plight continues within all of us to this very second? What if we looked at the night before Christmas from the eyes of an excited electron? And what if we upgraded the old mantra “I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas” to show what really scares undergrads around Christmas these days? Think of the possibilities.

Proline the Fixed Phi Residue

Proline, the fixed phi residue,

Had a very rigid frame.

He owned a bi-dent R group,

A boast that no one else could claim.

Yet, all of the other residues,

Used to laugh and play mean tricks.

They never let poor Proline

Bond into their alpha helix.

But when spirals grew too long

Genome came to say.

“Proline with your phi so tight,

Won’t you break this helix tonight?”

Then all the residues loved him,

As they shouted out with glee,

“Proline the fixed phi residue,

You’re the amino acid for me!



‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all was at rest.

The solution lay dormant, in its Ground State best.

Atoms vibrated slow with contentment and glee

In spite of the lack of thermal energy.


We electrons lay snugly, with none left awake

In bonds weaved from unions of give and of take.

My partner and I, within our own energy shell,

Had just settled down for a night’s rest as well.


When all of a sudden, there burst forth such a flash.

I jolted awake in search of its path.

Around I searched with growing interest,

Completely devoid of past wishes to rest.


The solution about me had an odd eerie glow,

That coated the molecules above and below.

When what with my symbolic eyes did I view,

But a green photon of my personal hν.


It flew through the medium, at ten to the eight,

Growing in size at an alarming rate.

It appeared as a ribbon, a zig-zagging vector,

A transverse wave – or particle – or both-WHATEVER!


And then it was there, and its energy was too.

I felt its great bounty, gift-tagged “For You”.

Encircled in radiance, energized to the core,

Excitement within, which I’d never known before.


Such rapture it was, which had struck me quite blind,

For I failed to note I’d left my partner behind.

Up, up and away I flew, to the ruin of π,

Gracing the lobes of a star in the night sky.


There I did perch, jittering with glee and surprise

At the curious result of my impertinent rise.

For ascended I had, leaving former bonds below

Claiming the rights to the use of the term HOMO*.


I’d heard of such stories in tales told of yore

“The anti-bonding orbitals” that lay at heaven’s door.

And there I was, a charge of the highest order

Infused with the power to stand at said border.


But such a thing does not last for forever,

And my energy reserve was beginning to waver.

My grip on paradise was soon to be lost,

And the knowledge chilled me like subatomic frost.


Desperate to stay, I pleaded and fought with the fall,

Throwing a tantrum throughout π*’s decked halls.

But the effort was for naught, and the garden did fade

Forcing a farewell to my lips, I’d rather not have bade.


Yet as I sunk a soft hue began to show

As the depths of my descent forged a soft crimson glow.

A new photon emerged and sprang out to the void

A fluorescent spirit of the bliss I’d enjoyed.


And to my surprise, in the red angel’s wake,

I found myself content with my decreasing state.

I sank back down to join my partner in bond

Happy to be home, in a pairing of which I’m fond.


And the solution was again in a calm state of rest.

As I happily donned my old Ground State best.

Settling in with my friend, I closed my eyes tight,


“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”



I’m Writing Papers for Christmas

The due date is the twenty first,

Somebody please pinch me.

More knowledge of which I’m not versed,

Somebody please pinch me.

A Christmas tree I want instead,

Platters full of gingerbread,

Yet, once more, desk meets my head.

Somebody pinch me please!


Oh, I’m writing papers for Christmas.

Science is making me sad.

I’m writing papers for Christmas,

Which can’t equal anything but BAD.


The title is a full page long,

One more slurp of coffee!

The writing makes my head feel wrong.

One more gulp of coffee.

This paper’s going nowhere fast.

Curse this cruel, wretched task.

I think I need my “special” flask

Since I’m out of coffee.


Oh, I’m reading papers for Christmas.

Research is driving me mad.

I’m reading papers for Christmas.

My face is now twitching a tad.


The introduction won’t make sense

Somebody please punch me.

The results make me sound so dense.

Somebody please punch me.

Discussion points aren’t fully grown,

Stunted, ragged, hollow tones.

Please throw my conclusion a bone!

Or just punch me please.


Oh, I’m writing papers for Christmas.

Worst stocking stuffer I’ve had.

I’m writing papers for Christmas,

And running out of fiction to add.


The time has come, the end is nigh.

I really need some sleep.

Been up so long, I’m feeling high.

I really need some sleep.

Done and done, now time to send.

Press the button, sweat and pend.


. . . Message Sent . . .


Those two words are my best friend.

Now to catch some Z’s.


Oh, I finished my paper for Christmas.

Now in gay apparel, I’m clad.

I finished my paper for Christmas.

Which can’t equal anything but GLAD!


A trial it was, but now it’s through

Let Christmas begin, and merry ensue,

Cause I’m doing nuttin’ all Christmas!



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