I read this in a book from the 60s-70s, surely not 80s. But there was a version of the Lord's Prayer adapted for Scientists. Now, the normal Lord's Prayer goes something like this:

Our Father, who art in Heaven etc.

But this one goes something like:

Oh Einstein/Aristotle/Socrates,
teach us so we may become Newton, Bohr, Keppler
don't lead us into temptation to falsify results
Hallowed be Einsteins name
In the name of Newton, Bohr, and Plato

etc. You catch my drift.

The two main characteristics:

  • structured like the Lord's Prayer
  • name-dropping of well known scientists

Except for the last line, which might be in it with different names, these are not fragments of what was said, but more like APPROACHING what was in it, and I am fairly sure there was a lot of name-dropping of well known scientists going on.
It was written probably BEFORE or during the seventies, and I think it was one of the greats, like Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov himself, or someone from that era. Zelazny, probably not Heinlein.

But you know how it is with memories, you can think you remember it was this and that way, but then it's completely opposite. This happened to me a couple of times with films, so ...

Please help, I've been Googling this question for many years now, so you might find this question elsewhere.

To over-clarify! I read this in a science fiction book, of course! Mentioning the authors would have made that clear, I guess. I like the old science fiction, before it became "SyFy". And Asimov, Clarke, etc., were such famous writers, people still make big Hollywood productions off of their books ...

2024 update: I still haven't found it, in fact, using AI Bing, led me right here to stackEx, so ... I guess it's gonna be one of those eternal internet mysteries. We won't know the answer, until I re-read my entire SF-library, I suppose.

  • 14
    Zelazny has "The Agnostics Prayer" which starts: "Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. ..." Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:58
  • While Zelazny's prayer is great, it's not the one I'm looking for, sadly. Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 21:07
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    Buckminster Fuller had a very long science-related prayer which he called "Ever Rethinking the Lord's Prayer", you can read it here, but it doesn't really have the sort of semi-comedic style and name-dropping of famous scientists that you remember, so this probably isn't it.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 14:07
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    @Hypnosifl I read that, but it answers none of the criteria for what I am looking for. Thank You anyway though :)
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 3:12
  • 2
    @Hypnosifl Bucky wrote and spoke many different versions of the Lord’s Prayer. If I remember, he would rethink the Lord’s Prayer almost every night. Certainly possible one of his versions included the names of prominent scientific people. Bucky and Asimov were friends and it is also possible that Asimov included one of these prayers in one of his works. Some other Bucky versions: theunofficialinfiniteway.com/unprayer/pra01003.html and brampitoyo.com/bucky.html
    – Firebat
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 22:53

2 Answers 2


I think you mean “The Electromagnetic Litany” by Robert Silverberg.

I read this in a science fiction book
“The Electromagnetic Litany” is part of the novel To Open the Sky

It was written probably BEFORE or during the seventies
… which was published in 1967.

I think it was one of the greats
Robert Silverberg, SFWA Grand Master.

I am fairly sure there was a lot of name-dropping of well known scientists going on.
That is certainly the case:

The Electromagnetic Litany
Stations of the Spectrum

And there is light, before and beyond our vision, for which we give thanks.
    And there is heat, for which we are humble.
    And there is power, for which we count ourselves blessed
    Blessed be Balmer, who gave us our wavelengths. Blessed be Bohr, who brought us understanding. Blessed be Lyman, who saw beyond sight.
    Tell us now the stations of the spectrum.
    Blessed be long radio waves, which oscillate slowly.
    Blessed be broadcast waves, for which we thank Hertz.
    Blessed be short waves, linkers of mankind, and blessed be microwaves.
    Blessed be infrared, bearers of nourishing heat.
    Blessed be visible light, magnificent in angstroms. (On high holidays only: Blessed be red, sacred to Doppler. Blessed be orange. Blessed be yellow, hallowed by Fraunhofer's gaze. Blessed be green. Blessed be blue for its hydrogen line. Blessed be indigo. Blessed be violet, flourishing with energy.)
    Blessed be ultraviolet, with the richness of the sun.
    Blessed be X rays, sacred to Roentgen, the prober within.
    Blessed be the gamma, in all its power; blessed be the highest of frequencies.
    We give thanks for Planck. We give thanks for Einstein. We give thanks in the highest for Maxwell.
    In the strength of the spectrum, the quantum, and the holy angstrom, peace!

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    This seems nice, but it isn't what I'm looking for. Your suggestion fails at TWO characteristics: the format of the Lord's prayer and the name dropping. Really the greats, Bohr, Einstein. etc. Thanks for trying. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 12:46
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    @GwenKillerby: I regret that this is not what you are looking for, but I actually thought this was an excellent candidate. Granted, it doesn't follow the structure of the Lord's prayer, but it is a prayer, and "In the strength of the spectrum, the quantum, and the holy angstrom, peace!" is a clear reference to the Christian "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." Moreover, it mentions Bohr, Hertz, Roentgen, Planck, Einstein and others. How this fails your name dropping requirement is beyond me.
    – Ubik
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:36
  • You're right. However it's not it. You being a PK Dick fan, please check out this question too. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/158417/… thanks. Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 10:14
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    I thank you, Ubik. Reading that has caused a pleasant tingle to my spine and hairs on my hands. I'll have to read the novel now.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 12:25
  • Japanese did it first with ancestor worship. Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 14:39

The source could be the novel "Christian Scientists" by Mark Twain.

The amended prayer in that book goes:

Our Father-Mother God
all-harmonious, adorable One.
Thy kingdom is within us,
Thou art ever-present.
Enable us to know—as in heaven,
so on earth—God is supreme.
Give us grace for to-day; 
feed the famished affections. 
And infinite Love is reflected in love. 
And Love leadeth us not into temptation, 
but delivereth from sin, disease, and death. 
For God is now and forever 
all Life, Truth, and Love.
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    "Christian Science" is a Christian denomination that has nothing to do with science, so I don't see how this fits with the what's being asked for. And the Mark Twain book 'Christian Science' just reported a real prayer, he didn't invent it--he prefaced it with 'This is not in the By-laws, it is in the first chapter of Science and Health, edition of 1902. I do not find it in the edition of 1884. It is probable that it had not at that time been handed down. Science and Health's (latest) rendering of its "spiritual sense" is as follows:'
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 14:14
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    The original poster states that he is not entirely clear on the source of the "prayer". As fits the very loose definition of where he says he may have read this, I feel that this is a possible answer and is offered as such.
    – Selezen
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 14:14
  • I do agree that it could be a fit, although I would consider it to be a rather big stretch, seeing that your prayer has no scientists named.
    – March Ho
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 14:50
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    This doesn't match any of the question's description, except that it is a parody of the Lord's Prayer.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 16:02
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    @Hypnosifl FYI, from what I've read, Christian Science is not a Christian denomination.
    – Rob Grant
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 8:17

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