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Video Thunderdome

Newscripts has recently been barraged with music videos by undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors alike. YouTube, it seems, has the power to turn even mild-mannered chemists into pop stars. We’ve sorted through some of the submissions and selected a few stand-outs. To ruthlessly narrow them down further, we’re taking Aunty Entity’s approach and sending a few into Thunderdome.

Two videos enter. One video leaves.

Alright, alright—we’re not going to obliterate the losing video. We’ve just got a couple of good ones to share with the blogosphere. Maybe the losers will be forced to watch Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” video from the Mad Max sequel.

The first submission comes from Zach Charlop-Powers (aka the Science Rapper), a graduate student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City. We’ve blogged about Charlop-Powers before, when he released a video about PCR.

This time he is rapping about structural biology and its accompanying lab practices. He tells Newscripts that he wrote this song as a parody of Saturday Night Live’s classic “Lazy Sunday” video. Although Charlop-Powers has released a few videos now, he says that his “operation” is still pretty nonprofessional. For instance, he says, the first recording of this video was flubbed and resulted in a lot of footage of the videographer’s feet.

The second submission comes from Neil Garg, a chemistry professor at UCLA. This semester, Garg taught an organic chemistry class for life sciences majors. To get the students motivated, he offered an extra-credit assignment to make a music video about organic chemistry. Out of about 250 students, Garg says that he expected maybe 5 to 10 videos to be turned in. “In the end, 61 videos were turned in!” he tells Newscripts.

This video, “Chemistry Jock,” was Garg’s favorite. And although the creators of the video didn’t get any extra bonus points for standing out, Garg says that he showed it in class and sent them a congratulatory note. One of the “chemistry jocks” responded, saying, “I am so honored that our video was your favorite, and to me, this e-mail is worth more than any amount of points you could have given us.” Awww, shucks. To see UCLA’s coverage of Garg’s assignment, click here.

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