Monday, June 11, 2012

The Kiss Precise

The Kiss Precise by Frederick Soddy

For pairs of lips to kiss maybe
Involves no trigonometry.
'Tis not so when four circles kiss
Each one the other three.
To bring this off the four must be
As three in one or one in three.
If one in three, beyond a doubt
Each gets three kisses from without.
If three in one, then is that one
Thrice kissed internally.

Four circles to the kissing come.
The smaller are the benter.
The bend is just the inverse of
The distance from the center.
Though their intrigue left Euclid dumb
There's now no need for rule of thumb.
Since zero bend's a dead straight line
And concave bends have minus sign,
The sum of the squares of all four bends
Is half the square of their sum.

To spy out spherical affairs
An oscular surveyor
Might find the task laborious,
The sphere is much the gayer,
And now besides the pair of pairs
A fifth sphere in the kissing shares.
Yet, signs and zero as before,
For each to kiss the other four
The square of the sum of all five bends
Is thrice the sum of their squares.

Published in Nature, June 20, 1936


  1. I like the poem and man who wrote it but the sketch looks Mickey Mouse.

  2. What prompted the post? Were you recollecting gayer spheres? Remembering which kisses added up to something more?

    He was a man of strong principles and obstinate views, friendly with students and prickly with colleagues.

  3. @MamaM: I was reading one of Soddy's early books--"The Interpretation Of Radium" and this seemed tangential to the discussion.

    @rcommal: Thanks so much!

  4. LOL...tangentials as well as those with more or less exposure to light are designed to discharge and receive energy on contact!

    While much of what you share here is beyond or outside of my present knowledge (and sometimes comprehension), I very much appreciate the invitation to "see and know more and beyond". I was unaware of Soddy, his contributions or the poem before reading this, and I was amazed to see more of the mystery of history and science revealed again through the giftedness and searchings of one individual.

  5. While much of what you share here is beyond or outside of my present knowledge (and sometimes comprehension),

    This just tells me I will have to try harder in the future.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  6. I goofed up. I read tangenitals, laughed and thought you were playing with the word. Whatever you write is fine by me, because it usually opens some sort of door or provides a trail and that's enough. No trying harder needed. I very much appreciate the drawings, links and variety of subjects covered.