One Project in the Life of an Astronomer, Described in Haiku

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

(Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

by Eric Schulman
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, Virginia

Acronyms swim and           
Bullets denote a life's work
On your resume.             

    A flash of insight.      
    The Universe demands that
    You test the theory.     

        Peruse the journals.        
        An unsuccessful search means
        You need new data!          

            Write a proposal        
            To justify the science  
            That you need to do.    

                Have patience while the  
                Time Assignment Committee
                Evaluates you.           

                    You have been awarded time.
                    Prepare for the run.       

                        On board the plane you
                        Explain astronomy to   
                        Fellow passengers.     

                            Once on the mountain         
                            You have little time to rest.
                            Check the telescope.         

                                A message appears:           
                                "Cannot access pixel file."
                                You must fix this bug.       

                                    You are ready now.       
                                    The telescope is working.
                                    Eat a quick dinner.      

                                        The sun is setting.        
                                        It's time to open the dome.
                                        The stars await you.

(Image credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi (


This article is republished with permission from the May-June 1998 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can purchase back issues of the magazine or subscribe to receive future issues, in printed or in ebook form. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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