Science Rapper Returns: East Coast/West Coast Feud Rises Again
Jan14

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...

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Chemistry Jocks Return By “Doing ELISA”
Jan04

Chemistry Jocks Return By “Doing ELISA”

Back in June, I started up a friendly little competition between the makers of two chemistry rap videos submitted to Newscripts. The clear winners were some undergraduate students who made a video entitled “Chemistry Jock” for extra credit in their organic chemistry class at UCLA. Now I’m not sure that the competition was exactly fair given that there were about 250 students in the class who all seemed to vote at least twice, but nonetheless, the “Jock” video won—and is still continuing to win on YouTube. It’s a true standout: As of the writing of this post, the video has been viewed on the clip-sharing site more than 25,000 times. Not ones to let fame go to their heads, the hard-working Chem Jocks are back with another educational video, this time about the process of doing ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). As you can see, the ELISA clip even includes some animation on how the assay works. This is for the benefit of high school students in CityLab, a science program held on Saturdays for inner-city Los Angeles kids. Yannick Goeb, Kimberly Bui, and Justin Banaga (the first three to appear in the ELISA video in chronological order) premiered “Doing ELISA” there as part of their volunteer work. Click here for more information on the third-year life sciences students. My favorite line? “My rhymes are so sick, I think I’m gettin’ ill/Can’t tell if I’m infected, but ELISA will.” The parting shot--the double pipette ejection by CityLab Executive Codirector Kevin Terashima--is also...

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