Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Best Science Song of All Time, Verse 2


Yesterday I asked: what is the best pop science song of all time? Here's where we stand: on the shoulder of giants (with apologies to Sir Isaac).

One of those giants is Ryan Reid, our digital art guru, who not long ago did a wonderful post on 10 songs inspired by science. So one answer to the question I posed yesterday had already been posited (there must be an explanation in quantum physics for this). Which doesn't mean it's closed, of course.

Ryan gives us Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army...

You know I hate to ask

But are ‘friends’ electric?

Only mine’s broke down

And now I’ve no-one to love

And, my personal favorite, Portal's "Transcending a Mere Multiverse."

Envision all futuristic angles

Dreamworking to dimensions of super-strata.

Yeah, I do that all the time!

The other giants are our Twitter and Facebook contributors. Here is a random selection. (Caveat: I haven't listened to all of this. Need... more... time...):

@brendano recommends The Galaxy Song, sung by Monty Python's Eric Idle.

@rfelt suggests "It's Your Moon" but doesn't give a link (sorry--suggestions welcomed).

@david_dobbs gives us Your Molecular Structure, by Mose Allison

From our stalwart Facebook followers (god bless'em):


Matthew John Gies Definitely "Why Does the Sun Shine" by TMBG. Although "The Elements" by Tom Lehrer is good too

Heather Henry: i always liked "Mammal" by They Might Be Giants.

Kathryn Duff Davis ”Weird science” winner hands down

Stephen Fuchs ‎"the nucleus i like best" by science groove... this shit is hardcore geek also for the kids, "why does it shine?"(the sun is a mass of incandescent light) by they might be giants

The Nucleus I Like Best (by Science Groove) A song about the joys of phosphorus NMR spectroscopy. It was written for the 20001 meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medic...

Redux Pictures: ‎'Why Does the Sun Shine?' and 'Why Does the Sun Really Shine?' by TMBG

Barbara Garofalo: I remember a new-agey techno disco song from the '70's called "Skylab", I assume to honour the fallen satellite.

Craig Humphrey: It's go to be the Element song. Or the Big Bang Theory song by the Barenaked Ladies.

Stephen Fuchs: (nucleus i like best) A song about the joys of phosphorus NMR spectroscopy. It was written for the April 20001 meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. The "percussion" in the song consists of actual sounds generated by a 1.5-Tesla NMR machine.

Alison Huling Women and Men by They Might be Giants.

Stephen Fuchs heres the link for "why does the sun really shine?" the only smooth and sexy science song ive ever heard

Margaret Davis ‎"NaCl" by Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

Maurice Newport Without a doubt: The Intro to "The Meaning of Life," by Monty Python

Deejay Pegleg: My vote is "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo; its not the most science-y song in the spectrum; but it certainly is super catchy!

En esta edición, Thomas Dolby y su gran éxito de 1982 "She blinded me with Scien...ce (Ella me cegó con la Ciencia" tal y como la escuchaba en la radio que incl...See

Stephen Fuchs GlaDos "still alive" (end credits from portal)

Lyrics: This was a triumph I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS It's hard to ove...rstate my satisfaction Aperture Science We do what we must Because we can

Eleanor Bigs Theologians - Wilco (I guess, technically, theology is a social science, right?) Either way, it's a great song.

Jim Korioth I love the Monty Python song ("Galaxy Song") but I have to cast my vote for Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science."

Gerald McCartney Rush: Cygnus X-1

Roger Stout In the Year 2525 by Zager & Evans

Juan Carlos Godoy Albedo 0.31 - Vangelis...

Dave Thomas Weird Al Yankovick's "I think I'm a clone now"

Margaret Unger White & Nerdy by Weird Al

Michael Shannon Link for '39' by Queen

Uli Krahn Lehrer still best, Dolby close second. SciAm had an astonishing science & effects of beer song listed recently, another gem.

Eleanor Bigs Also, you can't really go wrong with Life on Mars, or Ground Control to Major Tom.

Kelley Bird The theme song from 2001 A space Odyssey

Uli Krahn Kraftwerk: Radioactivity

Valerie Stephens Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking "A Glorious Dawn" compiled from audio recordings of Carl Sagan's 1980 PBS Documentary Cosmos and Hawking's 1997 PBS cosmology series documentary Stephen Hawking's Universe by Symphony Of Science:)

Shanna Malave Coldplay: The Scientist. Or even Speed of Sound. Coldplay does a great job and pulling together science and emotions. In the academic sense, we tend to think the two are completely unrelated, but in the end, together they make us who we are.

Julie Ann Bonsall The Elements Song! :)

Marian O'Neal Radiohead: Supercollider

Art Aughey Theme song from Big Bang Theory!

Marian O'Neal One-eyed, One-horned, Flying Purple People-eater?

Randi Papke Symphony of science - The Poetry of Reality!

Scott Unno This is a good song about man's impact on the Earth's climate. Probably more a political song than science but still one of the better songs on this topic

Meli Black The American version of Girl Guides had an ad a couple of years ago of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star reworded with Science. I've taught to various age ranges of children since. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, You're a ball of gas that's really far"

David Aldred ‎'Galaxy Song' -Monty Python

Andy Fuentes Why does the sun shine? by tmbg

Peter Pollard Tim minchin's. Beat poem 'storm's

Is a rocking 10 minute rant about science v bulldust. It will win

Chris Manson Ahead by a century- Tragically Hip

Trisha Tena The entirety of TMBG's "Here Comes Science". So fun and my little one listens to it daily.

Bárbara Melián I don't know how popular it might be for some of the readers of Scientific American, but to me Pearl Jam made an amazing science and, most importantly, socially relevant song, "Do the evolution" (from their 1998 album, "Yield") Even if you don't like the music, the lyrics and video are worth checking out. It's evolution, baby (8)

Declan Lyons A Glorious Dawn by Symphony of Science or The Large Hadron Rap by Alpine Kat are my nominations.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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