Gaia Vince on science pop songs

"[T]he pop song reaches places other science fears to tread – namely, the intimate headspace of a brooding teen."

- Gaia Vince, writing in New Scientist online

In the blog 'Short Sharp Science' this week, readers of New Scientist are invited to help solve “one of science's most intractable problems”, namely the selection of the top ten best pop songs featuring science in their lyrics. Vince, the deputy online editor of the magazine, discusses the ad hoc long-list, which features diverse artists ranging from The Beastie Boys and Girls Aloud to Billy Bragg, Kraftwerk, Diana Ross and Jarvis Cocker.

Of course, scientific lyrics are just as susceptible to errors of science as are novels and films. Writer and TV producer Simon Singh must have been trying to get himself nominated for Geek of the Year when, according to Vince, he apparently persuaded sultry songstress Katie Melua to redress a glaring inaccuracy in her single Nine Million Bicycles. (Ms. Melua contended that we are 12 billion light years from the edge of the universe, when the actual figure – which doesn’t scan nearly so well – is 13.7 billion.)

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