Emily LakdawallaJan 07, 2014

It's that time of year again: Happy LPSC deadline day, and happy haiku

Today was the deadline for scientists to submit abstracts to the 2014 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC). An "abstract" is a summary of the science you intend to present at the meeting. But LPSC abstracts are special. For most conferences, abstracts are quite short, barely a paragraph. But for LPSC, abstracts can be two pages long, with figures and references -- they are mini-papers. Therefore, LPSC requires attendees to summarize their science summaries in a sentence or two. This summary-of-a-summary is necessary but it does seem a little silly to be writing a summary of a summary, so a tradition has developed among some scientists (begun by Alan Trieman in 2001) to have a little fun with them and write the meta-summaries in haiku form.

I've written about LPSC abstract haiku before, and collected a few, but after seeing the success of the new "LOL my thesis" Tumblr it occurred to me that Tumblr was a perfect tool to use to collect LPSC haiku. Tumblr is a sort of micro-blogging site, and it's common to create Tumblrs on a narrow theme (like, say, Robot Shaming). It's a great tool to collect LPSC haiku because I can outsource the collection work to the authors of the haiku themselves: Tumblrs can optionally allow outsiders to submit entries. So today I created lpschaiku.tumblr.com and invited scientists to submit their abstract haiku, either from this year or from previous years. I've already received two dozen responses! Here are a couple of favorites:

Icy conditions
Dunefields explode seasonally
Furrows curve gently

Bourke and McGaley-Towle, 2014/2716: “Latitudinal Variation of Sand Furrows in the North Polar Region of Mars”

Melt rock held hostage
Escapes from crater prison
Over rim crest low

Neish et al., 2014/1159: “Global Distribution of Lunar Impact Melt Flows”

A giant impact
The core dynamo pauses
Slowly, it returns

Roberts and Arkani-Hamed, 2014/1161: “Impact Heating of Mars: Coupled Mantle Dynamics, Core Cooling and Dynamo Activity”

Finally, this one made me laugh out loud:

Oh martian gullies
Global mapping suggests that
[results embargoed]

Harrison et al., 2014/2124: “Global Mapping of Gullies with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera (CTX) and Implications for Their Formation”

Go check out the LPSC haiku Tumblr to read many more!