FUN: Science Jukebox

Science  03 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5689, pp. 1381
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5689.1381a

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas

A giant nuclear furnace

Where hydrogen is built into helium

At a temperature of millions of degrees

Yo ho, it's hot, the sun is not

A place where we could live

But here on Earth there'd be no life

Without the light it gives

That's a selection from “Why Does the Sun Shine,” an educational ditty by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer, science's answer to Cole Porter. Although solar physics and other technical topics will never surpass romance and heartache as the favorite subjects of songwriters, they figure in a surprising number of compositions, as you'll learn at the entertaining site MASSIVE (Math And Science Song Information, Viewable Everywhere). The database from chemical engineer and occasional songwriter Greg Crowther of the University of Washington, Seattle, lists more than 1600 titles, from “The Song of the Tungara Frog” to “Carbon Is a Girl's Best Friend.” Links whisk you to lyric sheets and audio snippets. Most composers and singers are obscure, but a few big names show up, including Monty Python and country singer Clint Black—who perform the same song (separately) about the immensity of the universe. For nonstop science tunes, you can also listen to MASSIVE radio.

Navigate This Article