Sunday, August 06, 2006

For my own amusement.

This is another science heavy post, but it contains a faint whiff of knitting. To be fair and warn you guys. This is like "What would Jesus do?" only it's "What would Tesla knit?"

In the comments, Annie pointed out that Archimedes probably would have been an interesting knitter (and I bet he would have, too), and then Trish asked if Einstein would have knit a Blue Shimmer on size zeros (I'm thinking yes, if he wanted one badly enough), and it made me think.

Which is probably not a good thing, but hey. No one's perfect.

I started thinking about great minds through history and knitting and who might have made an interesting knitter. (I am curious why more hard-science/engineer types don't knit, because it's perfect for that brain type - form and function, structure, and a zone out phase where you can think Deep Thoughts.)

Archimedes, being an engineer (I know they call him a mathematician, and he was, but crap, have you seen the stuff he BUILT?) probably would have loved knitting. Unfortunately he was a thousand-odd years too early for the invention of it, and too busy kicking Roman ass to learn it, most likely. He probably would have come up with knit armor or electrified knit fencing or something else that should have been impossible at his level of technology.

Ditto for Leonardo DaVinci. Knitting was around by then but he'd have seen it as socks. It wouldn't have occurred to him to use some wire and crank out who-knows-what, or better yet, use some colored yarn and make some art. Or knit a statue.

I have always wanted to know what Issac Newton would have done with knitting. He was brilliant, we all agree, but he was also barking-dog crazy. (He was an alchemist and spent his weekends huffing mercury, arsenic, and lead fumes. It's a miracle he lived.) His background, being split about equally between 'hard science' and the occult, probably would have produced some cool stuff. (I still, however, have a bone to pick with him over Exponent Law and Imaginary Numbers.)

Nicola Tesla... well. That would have been interesting, though weird and possibly invisible. (Joke there. Indulge me.)

Buckminster Fuller would probably have only cranked out geodeisic domes, but it would have been a hoot. (To my knowledge he did not knit, though it's probable he knew how. He was a learn-everything kind of guy.)

Einstein probably would have knit accretion discs for black holes; the flexibility of knitting would have allowed him to demonstrate a couple of those extra dimensions he was always talking about. (Other physicists are doing that with crochet, these days. Something about how crochet stitches are 'square' - length and width are equal - and it allows them to make 3D graph paper.)

And of course Richard Feynman, who would have knit tapestries of naked girls and come up with brilliant mathematical proofs while doing it. (He won a Nobel Prize for an idea he got while watching a food fight in a university dining hall.) Quite the bon vivant, Richard Feynman. He wanted to name quarks (the sub-atomic particles that he helped discover) 'Partons' after, yes, Dolly Parton. Can you imagine what he'd have knit? Can you imagine him at Stitch and Bitch night??!!?

When I go back to school I have a pile of math, chemistry, and other science courses ahead of me. I have already plotted how to knit a model of a cell, if I'm ever called upon to make one. (Why not have fun while dealing with bullshit homework? I once cooked a meal for my entire horticulture class to make a point about legumes, grains, and hunter-gatherers.) I'm pretty sure I can knit molecules and atoms, too. Sub-atomic particles might be tricky since we aren't sure what they look like. But I can fake it. Heh heh heh.

Right now I wanna go knit a chloroplast. But I'm gonna go do more neck ribbing. Sigh.


Bells said...

My pick out of that list - Leonardo. He'd have rocked as a knitter. I'd SnB with him any day!!!

TrishJ said...

Newton would have invented Intarsia. And NO, Einstein wouldn't have knit a Blue Shimmer on size ZEROS, he's not INSANE.

What about Freud?? I'm seing him as a bikini knitting sort of dude, then he'd blame it on his mother.

Catie said...

I just finished my undergrad in Psyc/Biology and in one of my classes I had to make a model of the brain showing parts (I didn't know how to knit then). So your idea of knitting a cell isn't that far off. How far are you in your degree and what are you majoring in (if you have decided)?