The ingenious petrologist

Dr. Hilary Downes told us she’d seen an advertisement for an “ingenious petrologist”. It made me wonder how they differed from the more usual igneous ones, and what might be going on in their heads.

An igneous petrologist, of whom there’s quite a few,
Can slice a lump of rock so thin that light can shine right through.
With polarisers crossed, the crystal colours are the clue
To sorting out the minerals in their microscopic view.

The ingenious petrologist, she’s done all that and more;
So now she dreams of finding rocks where none’s been found before,
And of drilling out a borehole that goes right down to the core,
But quite how she’s going to do it – well, just now she isn’t sure . . .

P’rhaps she’ll start it in the garden, with her trusty fork and spade,
Then bring in heavy drilling gear – she’ll have it specially made
With highly telescopic parts and super-hardened blade.
But igneous petrologists won’t like it, I’m afraid,

They’ll claim the thing’s impossible; their voices will be heard:
“The core is molten iron; it’s too far down; it’s quite absurd.”
The ingenious petrologist ignores their every word:
“From little acorns, oak trees grow, I will not be deterred.

The secret is to drill the hole when Mars is in Orion,”
The ingenious petrologist continues, quietly sighin’,
“And make the drill magnetic, so it’s pulled towards the iron.”
Well, you’ve got to hand it to her – she’s really one for tryin’!

The sciences make progress thanks to visionaries and cranks
Who exercise their minds, defying all the serried ranks
Of those who say “It can’t be done” in businesses and banks.
So ingenious petrologists are worthy of our thanks.

[Images: San Francisco State University (top); (centre); (bottom)]
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