by Roald Hoffman

It's overcast, and 
        this mood is spread 
       thin, like the smidgen 
of oil Ben Franlin 
       cast upon the pond. 
                   Astonishingly empty 
it waits, stilled, 
      for the surfacing 
                   memory of a squabble, 
or the generatrix, 
         your sweet face.

Biographical Details

Roald Hoffmann is the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Human Letters in the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University, New York. He received his Ph.D from Harvard in 1962, and since then has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1981, The American Chemical Society Priestly Medal, Arthur C. Cope Award in Organic Chemistry, and the National Medal of Science. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Foreign member of the Royal Society.

His most recent collection of poems is Soliton (Truman State University Press, 2002).

An essay by Roald Hoffmann, "Science, Language, Poetry", can be found at:

“Roald Hoffmann’s land between chemistry, poetry and philosophy” can be found at

For further information on the work of Roald Hoffmann see: