A new trend is music videos about science. The clips are entertaining and get to the point in a few minutes. Therefore, such videos are used to complement the school curriculum. The U.S. chemistry teacher Mark Rose Garden, for example, provides on his website more than two dozen music videos describing chemical issues in a musically amusing but scientifically correct way. Examples are “Rock Me Avogadro” and “Schrödinger’s Cat Strikes Back“.
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Switzerland, rapped about their research activities around the Large Hadron Collider. Some companies already use them as a promotional tool for their products. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Munich, Germany, advertizes, e.g., its equipment for the polymerase chain reaction with their “Scientists for Better PCR” clip.
In the “Safety Song” of the University of Berkeley, USA, purple and blue hand puppet monsters dance through the lab and learn what dangers lurk there, and how important it is to wear safety goggles and not to eat or drink in the lab – this makes safety training fun.
Joachim Allgaier, Research Center Jülich, Germany, thinks such films are useful, if they give an understanding of indigestible content. But if rather the gag is in the foreground, he sees the danger that science will be trivialized. In his opinion the best videos occur, when scientists themselves create them. A dash of self-deprecating humor does no harm here.
However, he sees a downside, as well: For music clips there is no editing; anyone can produce a video on any topic and upload it to YouTube or other platforms. Therefore, the internet is abound with music videos from creationists, climate change deniers, and anti-vaccination movement people. Allgaier thinks these can become “dangerous propaganda tools”.
- Rock me Avogadro,
Nachr. Chem. 2014, 62, 437–440.
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