ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













PsiVid

PsiVid


A cross section of science on the cyberscreen
PsiVid HomeAboutContact

A Capella Science–Bohemian Gravity

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


Email   PrintPrint



Who has not caught themselves singing along to Queen’s number one hit “Bohemian Rhapsody”? Perhaps we’ve made up words when we didn’t know them! But, have any of you attempted to explain string theory to the tune? I’ll bet it didn’t go as well as in this new version by Tim Blais of A Capella Science! Take a listen and marvel at the harmonies and the perfection of all the string theory/quantum physics buzz words matching the original cadence of Freddie Mercury’s “treasure”. I hope astrophysicist and Queen guitarist, Brian May has seen this!

Tim Blais hit the scene with his song about the Higgs Boson last year with an explanation set to the tune of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. I featured him last year on PsiVid about his song “Rolling in the Higgs”.

Here are the lyrics to “Bohemian Gravity”, in case you are studying for an exam! It’s not helping me, unfortunately, so I hope I’m not stopped on the street today, asked to explain it.

A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity!
Is string theory right?

Is it just fantasy?

Caught in the landscape,

Out of touch with reality

Compactified

On S5 or T*S3
Space is a pure void

Why should it be stringy?

Because it’s quantum not classical

Nonrenormalizable

Any way you quantize

You’ll encounter infinity

You see
Quanta
Must interact

Via paths we understand

Using Feynman diagrams

Often, they will just rebound

But now and then they go another way

A quantum

Loooooop

Infinities will make you cry

Unless you can renormalize your model

Of baryons, fermions

And all other states of matter
Curved space:
The graviton

Can be thought of as a field

But these infinities are real
In a many-body

Loop diagram

Our results diverge no matter what we do…

A Quantum Soup (any way you quantize)

Kiss your fields goodbye

Guess Einstein’s theory wasn’t complete at all!

I see extended 1-D objects with no mass

What’s their use? What’s their use? Can they give us quark plasma?

What to minimize?

What functional describes this

String?
Nambu-Goto! (Nambu-Goto)

Nambu-Goto! (Nambu-Goto)

How to quantize I don’t know
Polyakov!

I’m just a worldsheet, please minimize me

He’s just a worldsheet from a string theory

Reperametrized by a Weyl symmetry!
Fermi, Bose, open, closed, orientable?

Vibrations

Modes! They become particles (particles!)

Vibrations

They become particles (particles!)

Vibrations

They become particles (particles!)

Become particles (particles!)

Become particles (many many many many particle…)

Modes modes modes modes modes modes modes!

Oh mamma mia mamma mia,

Such a sea of particles!

A tachyon, with a dilaton and gravity-vity-VITY
(rock out!)
Now we need ten dimensions and I’ll tell you why

(anomaly cancellation!)

So to get down to 4D we compactify
!
Oh, Kahler!

(Kahler manifold)

Manifolds must be Kahler!

(Complex Reimannian symplectic form)

If we wanna preserve

Any of our super-symmetry
(Superstrings of type I, IIa and IIb)

(Heterotic O and Heterotic E)
(
All are one through S and T duality)

(Thank you Ed Witten for that superstring revolution and your new M-theory!)
(Maldecena!)

(Super-Yang-Mills!)

(Type IIB String!)

Dual! Dual!

(In the AdS/CFT)
(Holography!)
Molecules and atoms

Light and energy

Time and space and matter

All from one united
Theory
Any way you quantize…

Lyrics and arrangement by Tim Blais and A Capella Science

Original music by Queen

I am of course, enchanted by the original, so here is “Bohemian Rhapsody” for comparison:

This song is incredible, and it is wonderful to hear Brian May, explaining this monumental song as featured at Open Culture.

What do you think of Tim’s version? Do you have any requests for Tim Blais to tackle next?

Joanne Manaster About the Author: Joanne Manaster is a university level cell and molecular biology lecturer with an insatiable passion for science outreach to all ages. Enjoy her quirky videos at www.joannelovesscience.com, on twitter @sciencegoddess and on her Facebook page at JoanneLovesScience Follow on Twitter @sciencegoddess.

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





Rights & Permissions

Add Comment

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

1,200 Articles

Order Now - Just $39! >

X

Email this Article

X