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The Symphony of Science

Symphony of Science

Thanks to Bing (the encyclopedic student, not the search engine) for showing me this. The perfect post-exam chillout!

The Symphony of Science is a musical project headed by John Boswell, designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form.

It mashes TED Talks, Carl Sagan and autotune into quite the experience. Let The Ode to the Brain mess with your grey matter:

Tom McFadden on the news – BooYah!

MrT’s Lyrical Science hero makes a splash in New Zealand:

Get inspired – get writing: head on over to the Lyrical Science page. I can’t wait to hear the girls’ Classification version of Dynamite.

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass

Viral video pop masters OK Go set an incredible engineering challenge for this music video – a giant Rube Goldberg machine that fits in with the song and is all completed in a single shot. Here is the result:

Engineer Adam Sadowsky has a really entertaining talk on TED about the ten commandments of making the video and the challenges they overcame. OK Go introduce their video at the end.

Ross Durand’s Natural Selection Song

Clearly another advocate of Lyrical Science (with actual musical ability and a good singing voice), Ross Durand is a public school teacher from California. I’ve posted about his Photosynthesis song before, and here’s another from YouTube, The Natural Selection Song:

It looks like he’s started his own website for the science songs, so head on over to Mr Durand Sings Science to get an mp3 and the lyrics to “I Need a Little Light”.

You can also find lots more of his music on his personal website.

Virgin Galactic Goes Live – with cool soundtrack

Start saving those pennies for a trip to space, courtesy of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two – whichwas rolled out on a chilly unveiling in the Mojave desert this week. Here’s a short video showing a simulation of what one of the trips would be like, with what looks like some footage of SpaceShipOne’s journey to the edge of the atmosphere in 2004, as well as some dodgy camera-phone footage of this unveiling, apparently from Arnie’s phone.

Watch out for The Fuse in 2010 – the band whose music is featured on the video – they rock!

One might question the tactfulness of the unveiling of the spaceship so close to the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Is it really appropriate to encourage the super-wealthy to burn up fuel and money (US$200,000 a ticket!) on a joyride to space? There is a section on their official website that deals with the environmental issues, claiming that the carbon footprint per passenger is less than a London-New York flight.

On the other hand, given the chance would you turn it down? This project represents the cutting-edge of engineering and design, and there will be a lot to learn from their industrial experiences. It is also good to see some human ingenuity and adventure make the headlines, too.

Here’s a tour of SpaceShipTwo with Richard Branson, from Associated Press:

And an old (2008) video from talking about the project:

So what do you think? Do you think it’s a good idea? Would go if you were given the chance? How do you feel about this kind of high-profile project? Would it inspire you to take on science or engineering as a career?

For more information on the The Fuse and their music, check out their website:

The Biology Song & Lyrical Science

I love this song. “There are seven things it needs to survive”:



Inspired by the Stanford biologists, I’m looking for popular songs to butcher into biological themes. The process of taking one of your favourite songs and twisting it into a factually-sound academic re-write can be a great way to consolidate key concepts, especially for the musically intelligent. It takes more than just recall of the facts – you have to force yourself to understand the topic in order to write a decent song. To make the song make sense, you need a good grasp of the content and you must use the key terms correctly.


Ideas so far –

  • An IB Biology version of “Apoptize” (One Republic’s ‘Apologize‘) (completed – click here)
  • One Gene, One Protein“, after “No Woman, No Cry
  • Don’t Divide Even“, after The Script’s “Break Even” (completed – click here)
  • I Will Divide,” after Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” (have a go – click here)
  • ACE, ACE Inhibitors“, based on Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby
  • Endangered Species song for  “Numb/Encore” by LP and Jay-Z
  • Hormones“, after Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours
  • Good Riddance (to excess end products)“, based on Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your life)” (completed – click here)


For some more reading on how making use of  Musical Intelligence can aid in learning across the curriculum:


My big question: Has there been any research on the effectiveness of different styles of music in relation to age group, cultural background or musical preference?

Many of the bought-resources seem to based on country songs or old songs – how well does that translate to a modern teen audience in an international or urban setting?

If you’ve got any cool ideas (the more complex, the better), or any comments on the use of music as a learning tool,  please post them below!

Headphones image from:

Biotech: The Musical (re-up)

Science + music + YouTube = awesome.

Here are some comedy highlights:

Bio-Rad are the leaders when it comes to making silly music videos to promote their products. The classic ‘PCR Song‘ is great for the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology topic:

And you’ve got to love their follow up, GTCA So Fasttouting enzyme supermixes for the PCR process – this would fit in the DNA Replication section:

Mass Spec-tacular for the chemists (Reach that Peak):

More musical mayhem after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry

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