”What better way to appreciate the world of science than to listen to songs about it?” The anonymous twitterer behind Songs About Science guides us through a song genre which is very different to the stuff they are playing on the radio.
“There are these two itches that I just love to scratch. One lies in my mind, and the other lies deeper, in what I presume some would call my soul. The first itch is a yearning for understanding, for an insight beyond the phenomena of everyday life to explore the inner workings of our Universe. The second itch manifests less tangibly, but is equally difficult to shake when unsated.
Itch number one is best tackled with the acquisition of knowledge. And the type of knowledge that I find works best for my itch is the knowledge of science. I’m by no means a scientist, in that in no way do I actively contribute to breaking the current boundaries of scientific understanding, but nonetheless I devour the science of others.
The thing about itches is that you can’t feel them after you’ve successfully scratched them. They only become apparent when the scratching-mechanism is removed for a protracted period. Sometimes, I will be sitting at home, perhaps eating my dinner, perhaps tap-tap-tapping away at some highfalutin treatise or other, and that part of me, the soul or whatever you want to call it, starts to complain: “there’s something wrong! I need soothing!” And I often won’t know what the matter is at first, but then it’ll strike me: of course! There’s no music playing! I must… have… music!
So music scratches my second itch, and science scratches my first. For years, I was happily reading books to gratify my science yearning and listening to first tapes or vinyl, then CDs, then mp3s to oblige my music urge – or even occasionally tinkling at a few chords myself. And then the thought struck me: surely there must be a way I can do this more efficiently? Surely there is some kind of magic tool that will scratch both my itches at once? What if… what if I could somehow listen to songs…about science??
And I did. And I even started tinkling with a few science-influenced chords myself. And there I was, scratching myself with this beautiful double-ended itch-stick, when I thought…surely there must be lots of other people suffering from the same itches as me? Perhaps they’d like to borrow my stick.
And hence I conceived the Ensonglopedia of Science, a trickling trove of scientific songs, where each day I post a link to a track – usually accompanied by a video – that will hopefully inspire, amuse and educate in somewhat equal measure.
I had presumed there would be an infinite supply of songs about science for me to choose from. Unfortunately there is not. The supply is very large, but unfortunately not all of it is of excellent quality. Sifting through the dross is therefore a far more time-consuming process than I’d imagined, and I am very reliant on recommendations from others as to which science songs are worth including. I am not sure how long my feed will be able to remain ‘daily’, nor how far down the line the barrel will run completely dry. Readers of this article are entreated, therefore, to supply me (by tweeting @ensonglopedia) with your recommendations for good science-themed songs that may be yet to enter my radar. And while you’re at it, a ‘follow’ certainly wouldn’t go amiss! And together, we can rid the science world of tunelessness, and rid the music world of sciencelessness, and rid all itchy people of their scratches.”
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