I. In the dusty lab’ratory,
‘Mid the coils and wax and twine,
There the atoms in their glory
Ionise and recombine.
Oh my darlings! Oh my darlings!
Oh my darling ions mine!
You are lost and gone for ever
When just once you recombine!
2. In a tube quite electrodeless,
They discharge around a line,
And the glow they leave behind them
Is quite corking for a time.
3. And with quite a small expansion,
1.8 or 1.9,
You can get a cloud delightful,
Which explains both snow and rain.
4. In the weird magnetic circuit
See how lovingly they twine,
As each ion describes a spiral
Round its own magnetic line.
5. Ultra-violet radiation
From the arc or glowing lime,
Soon discharges a conductor
If it’s charged with minus sign.
6. α rays from radium bromide
Cause a zinc-blende screen to shine,
Set it glowing, clearly showing
Scintillations all the time.
7. Radium bromide emanation,
Rutherford did first divine,
Turns to helium, then Sir William
Got the spectrum – every line.
From The Post Prandial Proceedings of the Cavendish Physical Society (1911 fourth edition)