Tattoo Advice For Penning A Synthetic Symphony
Mar24

Tattoo Advice For Penning A Synthetic Symphony

This week I wrote about the "Atalanta Fugi­ens," a gorgeous 17th century alchemy text that includes a musical score. What's crazy is that this score is not just a background melody for the musically inclined alchemist. The score is actually a recipe for making the philosophers' stone, with individual musical parts for the chemical components, mercury, sulfur, and salt. I'm desperately hoping some modern-day chemist will be inspired to write a musical score for their next total synthesis, and that some journal agrees to publish this music in the Materials & Methods section. (Or at the very least, the Supplementary Information section.) Butt! A word of warning: Should any musically inclined chemist decide to pen a synthetic opera, however, they should certainly consider the admonishment of medieval artist Hieronymous Bosch. Namely, DO NOT tattoo that score on to your behind. Taking a closer look at the hell component of Bosch’s masterpiece "The Garden of Earthly Delights," discriminating viewers will note that the poor soul with the Gregorian chant on his nether region is being whipped by a demon tongue. Don't say I didn't warn you. Incidentally, that demon-whipped, butt-hugging music is also available for download, thanks to Amelia Hamrick, a student in Oklahoma. Have a...

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In Print: Chemistry Labs Sound Like Music
Apr02

In Print: Chemistry Labs Sound Like Music

The Newscripts blog would like to be closer Internet buddies with our glossy print Newscripts column, so here we highlight what’s going on in the current issue of C&EN. Sticking with the music theme from yesterday's Newscripts blog post, C&EN Senior Editor Linda Wang explores how chemistry instruments are turning into chemistry instrumentals in this week's print edition of Newscripts. While Linda wasn't able to cover the entire breadth of chemistry-inspired music currently popping up online (such as the above piece from musical act Boy in a Band), she was able to profile John LaCava. LaCava, a musician and biology research associate at Rockefeller University who describes himself as "just a young punk from the wrong side of the tracks" who "got sucked into science while studying biotechnology at MassBay Community College" (you know, like all hoodlums), posts music he and his bandmates create using lab equipment such as centrifuges and magnetic stir bars to the website Sounds of Science. Click here to check out some of their mad beats, including Linda's favorite, "96 Tubes." Taking a step back into the past, Linda's column also discusses recent research into a proposed method for preserving China's Terra-Cotta Army Warriors. The clay sculptures that were buried with the first Chinese emperor long ago as a means of protecting him in the afterlife are at risk of deterioration caused by air pollutants and heat. To combat this problem, researchers suggest using instruments similar to air conditioners to form a protective "air curtain" around the sculptures. "I think it’s a fantastic idea!" says Linda. "I don’t mind having the invisible curtain if it means others will be able to enjoy the relics for years to come." So, as Linda puts it, "if you’re interested in making music with science or using science to aid in cultural preservation, this Newscripts column may be just for...

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Harlem Shake ft. Tryptophan
Mar20

Harlem Shake ft. Tryptophan

Not to be confused with the real Harlem Shake dance moves of the 1980s, a Harlem Shake video meme quickly went viral last month. The gist: An individual starts to dance to electronic music producer Baauer's song "Harlem Shake" for roughly 15 seconds before the beat pops and the video jump-cuts to a huge crowd of costumed companions who join in on the erratic dancing. The meme began in Australia, but quickly became popular across the globe, with the University of Georgia men's swim team, some Norwegian army troops, and even a distressed clothes dryer posting their own Harlem Shake videos. And now, thanks to Pierre Morieux (@ChemDrawWizard), chemists have gotten in on the fun. His YouTube channel features a couple of ChemDraw video tutorials, followed by this bigger...

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Science-Pop Rocks
Apr20

Science-Pop Rocks

Chemistry and Music; star-crossed lovers? Oh no, never! Here at C&ENtral Science, we love science songs about nanotechnology and the bright future that chemistry can bring. Reciprocating science's ardor for music, the music world's Rolling Stone magazine has ranked chemists and other scientists among those who rock the U.S. as "agents of change." I think it's wonderful that rock 'n rollers and scientists admire one another. But one wonders... How well do science and synthpoprock get along? At a Freezepop concert I attended last week, I was excited to find that science is well-received. In fact, one of the songs (apparently a "true" story, as the lead singer won the science fair at her school) is about human cloning ("Science Genius Girl" is the title). It's one of my new favorites, if only because it mentions Bunsen burners and chemicals (not just "the chemistry between you and me" type of science that so many songs contain). If you do a search, you will find a lot of fan-made videos, this notable one from a high school film class. It's well-choreographed and filmed, but I object to the lack of sterile technique that the girl uses while "cloning," the use of tongs as forceps, and the girl's disregard for chemical safety (gloves, anyone? She does wear goggles, but her lab coat isn't buttoned.). Freezepop's song "Less Talk More Rokk" is featured in Guitar Hero 2, for those die-hard rockers, but it doesn't mention chemistry (unless you count the keg of beer). What's your favourite pop/rock/etc song about...

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