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Tom Lehrer in 1960. I wish I had his talent, but not necessarily his chin.
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Science Cafe topics, sung like Tom Lehrer's "The Elements"

We had an overflow crowd for last night's Science Cafe Nashua about flying robots - no surprise, with that topic. If you weren't there, you missed lots of interesting discussions, and you also missed my pathetic attempt at singing a little ditty I'm writing about the many topics we've covered in our 20 science cafes.

The song (using the term loosely) is a ripoff of Tom Lehrer's brilliant "The Elements," in which he sings all the elements of the periodic table to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Major General's Song" from "The Pirates of Penzance." (Check this YouTube of him playing it in concert; there are lots of excellent animations online, too.)

My idea was to use the tune to mention every topic we've had in our 20 cafes. Here are the lyrics I've written so far. I'll be expanding it over the summer. I've added notesat the bottom to describe the topics:

There's been ...
Climate change and Lyme disease
and won't you keep your cats inside?
Nanotech and what the heck
on the 'net you cannot hide

Invasive species, what a blight
lights that ruin the sky at night
mosquitos that give us a fright
brewing fluid makes us tight

Climate change, first topic in May 2011; Lyme disease, March 2012; Domestic cats and wildlife, April 2013; Nanotech, April 2012; Digital privacy, Oct. 2011; Invasives, May 2012; Dark skies, Nov. 2012; Mosquito-borne diseases, March 2013; Science of brewing, Jan. 2013

I've got 12 more topics to go ... stay tuned.

By the way, Science Cafe is on summer break until September, which will be some sort of food-related topic, probably aquaponics.