Snellís Law Song

Words by Marian McKenzie & Walter Smith 12-8-02

Tune: Sweet Betsy from Pike (traditional)

 

†††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††† ††† C†††††††††††††††† ††††††† G7††††††††††† C

Come listen and learn, Iíve a story I tell,

 

†††† C†††††††††††††††††††† Am†††††††††††††††††† G†† ††††††††††††††††††††††G7

I sing of the genius of Willebrord Snell

 

††††††† C†††††††††††††† Em†††††††††††††††††††† F†††††††††††††††††††††††† C

A mathematician who lived long ago

 

††††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††G7††††††††††††††††††† C

In the Netherlands where the Rhine river does flow.

 

Willebrord van Roijen Snell

1580-1626

(Note that the first name is actually pronounced ďVillbrortĒ, but in the song is pronounced ďVill-e-brortĒ.)

 

 

 

††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††† G7†††††††††††††††††††† C

He set for his mind occupations of worth,

 

††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††† Am††††††††††††††††††††† G††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††G7††††††††††††††

Improved navigation and measured the Earth!

 

††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††††† Em††††††††††††††††††††††††††† F†††††††††††††††††††††† C

He gave us the sine law, that wonderful guy,

 

†††††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††C†††††††††††††††† G7†††††††††††††††† C

And he made more precise calculation of pi!

 

 

 

††††††††††

†††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††† F (or C)†††††† G (or G7)††††† Am (or C)

Singiní n1 sine theta-sub-1, hey, hey, hey,

 

†††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††† F (or C)††††† G (or G7)†††††††† C

Equals n2 sine theta-sub-2, hip hooray!

 

 

 

 

 

†††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††† ††† C†††††††††††††††† ††††† G7††††††††††††††††††††††††† C

His greatest feat came in Sixteen Twenty-one,

 

†††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††† Am†††††††††††††††††††† G††††††††††††††††† G7††††††††††††† †††††††††††††

When optics as science was really begun!

 

††††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††† Em††††††††††††††††††† F††††††††††††††††††††††††† C

While flashes of lightning illumined his page,

 

†††††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††G7†††††††††††††††††† C

He wrote down Snellís law, his great gift to the age!

 

 

 

 

†††††† C††††††††††††† †††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††† G7††††††††††††††††††††† C

So if you wear glasses or like to fry ants,

 

†††††††† C††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Am†† †††††††††††††††††††G†††††††††††††††††††††††††† G7†††††††††††††††

Be grateful your lenses were not made by chance!

 

††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††† Em†††††††††††††††††††††††††† F†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C

Astronomers hail him with each new-found star!

 

†††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† G7††††††††††††††††††††††† C

Microscopists toast him from each sleazy bar!

 

 

 

††††††††††

†††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††† F (or C)†††††† G (or G7)††††† Am (or C)

Singiní n1 sine theta-sub-1, hey, hey, hey,

 

†††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††† F (or C)††††† G (or G7)†††††††† C

Equals n2 sine theta-sub-2, hip hooray!

 

 

 

 

††††††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††† ††††† C†††††††††††††† G7†††††††††††††††††††† C

Now some credit Harriot, others Descartes,

 

†††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††† Am†††††††††††††††††††††† G†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† G7††††††††††††††††

Both studied refraction, and both were real smart.

 

††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††† Em††††††††††††††††††††† F†††††††††††††††††††††† C

But we prefer Willebrord van Roijen Snell --

 

††††††††† C††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C†††††††††††††††††††††† G7††††††††††††††††††††† C

He laid down the law, and he did it darn well!

 

 

 

††††††††††

†††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††† F (or C)†††††† G (or G7)††††† Am (or C)

Singiní n1 sine theta-sub-1, hey, hey, hey,

 

†††††††††††††††† C††††††††††††††† F (or C)††††† G (or G7)†††††††† C

Equals n2 sine theta-sub-2, hip hooray!

 

 

 

 

2002 Marian B. McKenzie and Walter Fox Smith