Little Physicist’s Jump Rope Song

Egg drop soup.
Cold like winter,
Flowers droop.

Doggy plop,
Hula hoop.
Bowl of ice cream,
Seven scoops.

Quarks and
Leptons too.
Gravity in a
Quantum loop.

Neutron stars.
Life on Mars.

Jump rope,
Jump rope,
'Till you're blue.
Count the atoms in your shoe.


One million

One billion

One trillion
I'm tired.

-B.C. Byron
It’s time you learned the proper way to draw hopscotch. You weren’t just putting 1 through 10 on it, were you?

You may have noticed from some of my other poems that I like physics and math. I’m an electrical engineer, so these things come up at work frequently, but I also study it for fun in my free time. I like ice cream, hula hoops, and that other stuff too, but reading a good science book or watching a documentary about black holes are my favorite kinds of weekend activities. This poem puts together several of my favorite topics in one. Verse three covers particles and quantum physics. Verse four covers outer space and astrophysics. Verse 5 just represents a really loooong recess activity. You might be late getting back to class.

So how many atoms are actually in a shoe? Well, you don’t want to count them, that’s for sure. I would estimate there are about 200×10^24 atoms in one shoe (that’s 200 with 24 more zeroes after it!). That’s an awful lot more than the one trillion atoms counted in my poem. Even counting to 1 trillion is not really possible in one human lifetime. To put things in perspective, you will only be 1 billion seconds old just before you turn 32. So counting to 1 trillion would take around 30,000 years if you were able to count a little faster than 1 second per number. It would get pretty difficult to keep up this counting pace when you get into the really big numbers, so that’s an optimistic estimate (try saying 1,236,333,287,197 in less than 1 second). I strongly recommend that you don’t try counting all the atoms in anything. I do, however, recommend that you look up all the fascinating science terms in my poem. Each one represents an amazing concept that will expand the mind, overheat your brain, and fill you with more questions about the universe.

You don’t have to be a physicist or an engineer, or even want to be one, to find joy in the sciences. If you’re not keen on studying text books, start by learning how your favorite things work. Electronics may come to mind right away, but have you ever really thought about how a light bulb works? What about the science at work when you make a chocolate muffin? These deceptively simple everyday things are built upon deep physics and chemistry that took years to understand. If you go deep enough into anything, you’ll find that there is some point at which human understanding is still lacking – and that’s where your fun starts. When you reach the point where you can’t google the answer or find another person that can explain it, you start coming up with your own ideas and experiments to prove them. You may very well be the first person that’s ever asked such questions and that’s a pretty cool thought. There’s always one more level of understanding to be had, friends.

Published by B.C. Byron

I’m a children’s author, poet, father of 3 girls, and electrical engineer. My first book, A Cat Named Lump, is available on Amazon,, and Google Books. I post new poems and illustrations every week.

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