Twenty-Something Science

The Scienceline music video awards

Even science -- or especially science -- is better to music

August 4, 2012

We’re all probably familiar with the pedagogical conviction that there are right-brained, artsy people and there are left-brained, methodical people. Early in the school years, a divide forms. The left-brainers take well to science or business and are funneled into the world of analysis. The right-brainers want to be dancers or writers, funneled into the world of creative impulse. And the two kinds of brains ne’er shall meet.

But it’s not so clean-cut. What about scientists who thrive off of music and oil paintings? What about artists who work with geometric patterns or natural substances? Evidence from the world of science and art shows that there are lots of calculations in creativity (see: Leonardo da Vinci) and lots of creativity in calculations (see: quantum physics). It’s arguable that some of the best bits of our culture come from a meeting of the divergent minds — or brains.

So in lighthearted celebration of the left/right nexus, below are five of the best science-themed music videos that can be found on the Internet. Take a break, have some fun and exercise your whole brain.

1. “A Glorious Dawn” by Symphony of Science. After you watch this, the spirit of Carl Sagan will forever infiltrate your deepest, darkest thoughts.


2. “Nature by Numbers” by graphics artist Cristobal Vila. This is one of those where there’s not much more a point other than to say, “Gee whiz!”


3. “My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)” by NYU’s very own Studio 20 students. This video is a great example of how complicated issues can be laid out flat with a little artistic ingenuity.


4.”There’s Science in Music” by Bill Nye the Science Guy. Obviously, Bill Nye had to be included. Please be sure to appreciate the 1990s atmosphere.


5. “The Elements” by Tom Lehrer is an unavoidable classic. It’s mind-numbing at times, but it’s all worth it at the end when he rhymes “Hah-vard” with “discah-vered.”

About the Author

Kelly Slivka

Kelly Slivka finished up her B.A. in English and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, after which she traded amber waves of grain for actual waves of water. The past three years, she’s been stalking endangered whales on the East Coast for various conservation and research institutions, a profession that has given her plenty of fodder for fascinating science writing, but no feasible outlet. Now, through NYU’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program she’s moved on to stalking all things new and cool in science and sharing it with, well, everyone! You can learn more about Kelly on her website,, and follow her on Twitter @k_sliv.


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