Science Rapper Returns: East Coast/West Coast Feud Rises Again

Not to be outdone by the Chemistry Jocks, whom I posted about last week, Zach Charlop-Powers (aka the Science Rapper) has answered back with a new rap video of his own. In June 2010, I pitted the two science-based performers against one another in a friendly Thunderdome-like rap-video competition. At the time, the Chemistry Jocks, a group of undergraduates at UCLA, seemed to best Charlop-Powers, a graduate student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City.

But Charlop-Powers isn’t taking it lying down. He’s released a new video about famous astronomer Edwin Hubble and his calculations proving the expansion of the universe. Let us hope that this new East Coast/West Coast rivalry doesn’t turn ugly like the one that cost us Biggie and Tupac.

Charlop-Powers says that his inspiration for this new clip is an impressive lecture by MIT physics professor (now emeritus) Walter Lewin in which he “starts by explaining red-shift calculations of light,” calculates the Hubble constant, and then “right before your very eyes, calculates the date of the Big Bang.”

“I was somewhat floored by the neat way of tying together something simple like the measurement of the wavelength of light with something so grand as the origin of the universe,” Charlop-Powers adds. So he drafted some verses and eventually made this video.

As for the British accent the grad student, who hopes to defend his thesis in a few months, adopts for the clip, Charlop-Powers says no accent coach was required. “I enjoy accents,” he adds. But “I can’t always keep them straight—sometimes Scottish magically morphs into Jamaican.”

Good luck with your defense, Zach. And if you travel to Los Angeles anytime soon, I’d watch your back.

Author: Lauren Wolf

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