Operatic Snippets of Science

The entire universe in blog form
July 13 2013 8:00 AM

Songs of Science

Hai-Ting Chin sings about science
Hai-Ting Chin serenades (a cartoon version of) me with science.

Photo from the video

There’s cool, and then there’s cool: In this video, the gorgeously bethroated mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chin sings quotes about reality from various scientists and critical thinkers. Note who she starts off with!

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

The quote from me comes from a blog post I wrote about the launch of the European Planck mission. I was discussing the potential results of the mission, which was designed in part to discern between competing theories on the Big Bang model of the Universe:

Planck may very well have the resolution needed to see that. Do you understand the implications? We may be on the verge of determining if the origin of the Universe was a singular event, or if it was due to some other mechanism.
We're on the edge of "holy crap!" territory with this. We have progressed from last century's having no clue about how the cosmos got its start, to now possibly being able to get a handle on what happened before the Big Bang.
That's why I love science! Some people try to tell me that science will never answer the big questions we have in life. To them I say: baloney! The real problem is your questions aren't big enough.
Advertisement

I love what Hai-Ting did with this. She is herself a skeptic, and her website is loaded with clips of her music. I’ve written about her before—she wrote a piece based on an article I wrote about the motions of the Moon—as she has a magnificent voice and is a wonderful person. She also has a podcast with musician Matt Schickele called Scopes Monkey Choir. Give it a listen!

Oh, one more thing: In the Songs of Science video, the illustrations were done by my friend Maki Naro who is Kickstarting a new web comic called Sufficiently Remarkable. It looks like it’ll be really good, so you should throw some filthy lucre his way if you can.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.