Friday, April 16, 2010

A News Sonnet A Day for April 2010: 16

I've set myself a goal for National Poetry Month this year: Compose a sonnet based on a science-themed news story each day.

Today's installment takes its cue from "Stanford Scientists Harvest Electricity From Algae Photosynthesis" by Brit Liggett at Inhabitat and "Stanford researchers find electrical current stemming from plants" by Gwyneth Dickey at the Stanford News Service.

Power Plant

Ben Franklin captured sparks with kite and key,
Showed lightning's power practical and vast.
But how to harness electricity
From algae, through a tiny chloroplast?

To make their sugars, plant cells use the sun.
Their photosynthesis makes water split,
And light-excited, freed electrons run.
To tap that energy, a team has fit

A tiny gold electrode in a cell
And drawn a picoampere from that bond.
Some day more current, for a longer spell,
Might surface from a ripple in a pond.

Organic habitat is charged to thrive
While nature's batteries are kept alive.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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