Music and science nerdom update: “The Element Song” has been brought up to date

Back in 1959, Tom Lehrer composed a song to the tune of “Major-General’s Song” from The Pirate of Penzance musical by Gilbert and Sullivan. The idea was to help chemistry and physics students navigate their way through Dmitri Mendeleev’s famous periodic table, which was first published in 1889. It was a big success in science circles.

Tragically, though, the song has fallen out of date. In 1959, only 102 elements were known. Since then, another 16 have been discovered/synthesized. What about the transition metal Dubnium (105)? The post-transition metal Flerovium (114)? Poor unclassifiable Oganesson (118)? Clearly something needed to be done.

A tech firm called Digital Science helped rewrite the song to include the newer elements, calling upon 118 scientists to contribute vocals.

This is certainly the nerdiest thing you’ll hear today. Even Sheldon Cooper would approve.

(Via Daily Mail)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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