Music by scientists (special issue)
Discover amazing music that just happens to be made by scientists
Mixture has grown a lot over the last year, so newer subscribers might not have seen some of the many “MusiSci” features that have been in this newsletter or its predecessors since about 2015. So this is a special issue of Mixture, featuring only music made by scientists. Ten videos are from the archives, and I’ve added one new one at the bottom. (There are also sneaky additional links to even more music).
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🎸 Scientists in rock bands
There are so many scientists in bands. I’m not even including some of the more obvious ones (Brian May from Queen and Dexter Holland from The Offspring) because the list is long enough without them. Here are three songs that just happen to be by scientists.
The Descendents - Victim of Me
Lead singer Milo Aukerman was a researcher for most of his music career, and only a few years ago became a full-time musician.
Ladytron - The Animals
Ladytron member Mira Aroyo was a genetics PhD student at Oxford University, but when the band starting gaining popularity she left her research career.
Thousand Days - What’s the Worst
Harvard infectious disease researcher Pardis Sabeti is also the lead singer of the band Thousand Days. This video was filmed with Harvard undergrads in 2014.
💡 Inventing a whole new instrument
This category is very short, and only includes physicist/engineer Leon Theremin, who invented an entirely new music instrument about a century ago. The theremin is unlike any other instrument because it can be played without touching it. This is a video of Theremin playing on his own invention.
🔬 Original music inspired by science
The Amygdaloids - Map of your Mind
The Amygdaloids is a band founded by NYU scientists Joseph LeDoux and Tyler Volk.
Sandy Cash - More Than Meets The Eye
Folk singer and science writer Sandy Cash wrote this ode to astronomer Vera Rubin.
Diane Nalini - Kiss Me Like That
Jazz singer and physicist Diane Nalini wrote a song inspired by a mnemonic for astronomy students. It starts after 13:45 in this TED talk, but you can get a better quality on Bandcamp.
Foxanne - Opportunity
Singer and science writer Chelsea Gohd, aka Foxanne, wrote this song inspired by the Mars Opportunity Rover.
🧪 Science parodies
There are so many songs by scientists that involve writing new (scientific!) lyrics to existing popular songs, I could have included hundreds of there. But in the interest of your attention spand, here are two of my all-time favourites. Tom Lehrer’s Elements and the Zheng Lab’s Bad Project were only left out because I thought you might have heard them already.
A Capella Science - Evo Devo
Tim Blais turns existing pop songs into science education.
Neurotransmissions / UCSD Neurosciences Grad Program 2018 - Postdoc Me Now
💥 New music
Finally, I promised a whole new song that hasn’t been in the newsletter before.
Larry Lesser - Sparks
Mathematician and musician Larry Lesser recently released a music video for the title track of his album Sparks, which was shortlisted at the New Mexico Music Awards.
🧭 That was fun! Now what?
If you like these songs, make sure to support the musicians/scientists. Their names are linked to their websites where available.
If you like this newsletter in general, you can support it by sharing it with your friends, subscribing, or buying me a coffee.
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