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The Short, Rich Life of Positronium, Ann Arbor 2012

September's I Spy

The Short, Rich Life of Positronium

by Sally Bjork

posted 10/3/2012

"'The light-producing dance of annihilation,'" mused Mark Kennedy, physics department employee, on September's clue. "Easy! It is a sculpture by a friend of mine, Jens Zorn," U-M emeritus professor of physics. The sculpture is "known as 'The Short, Rich Life of Positronium,'"wrote Jim Pluta. "I am delighted that we get to enjoy a bit of physics in 'I Spy!'" wrote Herbert Winful.

Vivian Loh noted that the sculpture can be seen "in a walkway between Randall Lab and West Hall." Kathy Hillig and her husband "often walk that way to see the various physics related sculptures in the courtyard."

"I know this statue well!" exclaimed Marjie Rich of Traverse City, who picked up the Observer during a recent Ann Arbor trip. "It was made ... in honor of my father, [the late U-M physicist] Arthur Rich."

Twenty-two people correctly identified the sculpture, including Zorn himself--who kindly complimented "the elegance and appropriate physics allusions" in our clue. Louisa Griffes, who thought the clue "sounds very ominous" but finds the sculpture beautiful, won September's drawing. She will enjoy her $25 gift certificate at the Common Grill.

To enter this month's contest, use the photo and clue on the Back Page to identify the scene, then follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.    (end of article)

[Originally published in October, 2012.]


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