Sunday, September 15, 2013

the calculus of lambda (λ)

Did you know that lambda (λ) is the Cosmological Constant? In fact, the "standard model" of the big bang universe is known as λCDM (lambda cold dark matter). It is considered the simplest model for matching theory with observations of the universe.

The following appears to be the case (physicists please correct me if I have this wrong):
λ is dark energy and 68.3% of the universe is dark energy.
Dark matter constitutes 26.8% of the universe.
And calculus is about discovering the unknown.
So let’s discover a universe in which lambda is knowable and energetically taking up 68.3% of ‘space’.

the calculus of lambda (λ)
the variable x is a valid lambda term
what of xx
double λ?

lambda calculus solves my world
discovers the unknown
the dark energy driving the universe

repeat after me the three rules
–a variable x is a valid lambda term
–if t is a lambda term, and x is a variable, then (λx.t) is a lambda term
(a lambda abstraction)
–if t and s are lambda terms, then (ts) is a lambda term
(an application)

the observations click
purple shift
that emotional leap of faith into other realms
a transit out of time into timelessness

x = woman
t = transit
s = you work it out

The three rules above can be found on Wikipedia at

Thank you to wonderful physicist Meryl Waugh for sending me some info on lambda. Any mistakes here are mine not hers.

 The photos on this page from the top are:
1. A coven of lambda lambs in the Basilica di San Clemente, Rome.
2. Saptamatrika: seven matrikas, seven mothers, sometimes connected with the Pleiades. They always hang out together and are often found dancing. One of them in this picture has the head of a sow. In this picture on the left: Shiva, then the matrikas: Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda (photo taken in the Oriental Museum in Torino). If you want to know more about matrikas, check out Giti Thadani's wonderful Moebius Trip.
3. Another girl gang on a gold Etruscan bracelet.
4. I don't know what this means. I found it on the wall at the Film Museum in Torino, and there appear to be a few lambda calculations going on in there. All grist for the mill.

This poem was first published on the Wonder Book of Poetry edited by Kit Kelen:

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