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The Tusi Couple
14 Sep 2009

Ode to astronomer and polymath Nasir Al-Din Tousi (1225 – 1274), inventor of the mathematical formula ‘the Tusi Couple’, adopted by Copernicus in 1543

For centuries
Athens decreed the earth was stoic,
fixed by a cat’s cradle of orbiting suns,
ending where it had begun
sat there like a plonker

In 1250 AD
Tusi squinted up at the rising roof of Persia
The universe pored into his retina
like an ocean filtering through a straw
Glory lured him long before
gravity anchored his ancestors

Frantically Tusi
erected devices
cultivated hypothesis
detected hierarchical
formulas navigated
concentrics assembled
data measured
shadows measured
his own shadow measuring shadows

Neglected,
his wife said
‘Tusi, it’s the shadows or me’
Tusi said
‘Love,
It’s got to be the shadows’.
Even then
he failed to conceal his fascination
with the darkness yawning
beneath her folded arms,
which really pissed her off

She moved in with her sister and her sister’s husband
but soon grew tired of the tedious way
they took the fluctuations of sunlight and darkness for granted
‘More moronic than the average rooster’, she concluded
and boomeranged back to beloved Tusi
wearing a silhouette he had never seen her in before

Behold the Tusi Couple!
A duo generating linear motion
from the sum of two circles
rotating interlocking
towards a point of tangency
that, although unknown,
(Hey what do u expect, he didn’t even have a telescope)
was never again
arbitrarily pointing towards silly men

© Sarah Gillespie 2012 Web design by Linus Design