They Might Be Scientists

By Phil Plait | September 10, 2009 3:00 pm

I must be the last guy on the planet to see this judging from the emails I’m getting, but the music group They Might Be Giants has put out an album called "Here Comes Science", and it has this very cool video called Science Is Real:

Nice! Catchy, too. The album is technically for kids, but I suspect a lot of grownups will like it too. And I know a lot of teachers read this blog… so you know what to do.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Science
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Comments (43)

  1. Ohio Mike

    Aha, first! Good album…and I’m a grown up. I still have to say it when somebody says “Istanbul” …now Constantinople!

  2. bigjohn756

    Show this in my beloved state of Texas and you would surely be kicked out on your ass. There is no such thing as science here, only religion. Majority rules, you know. If you don’t believe then you are nothing. No one will talk to you, you can’t get a date, you are just SOL.
    Thank you Jesus!

  3. Ryan

    Its not their first stab at science… They do a catchy jingle about the Sun!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbgul1NpEA8

  4. tacitus

    Show this in my beloved state of Texas and you would surely be kicked out on your ass. There is no such thing as science here, only religion.

    Well, of course here in Texas many will claim that science *is* a religion — just not the right one.

    If you don’t believe then you are nothing. No one will talk to you, you can’t get a date, you are just SOL.

    Well, I’m not sure which part of Texas you are from, but here in Austin it’s not quite that bad!

  5. AstroDad

    TMBG previous album, here come the 1 2 3’s has a few amazingly deep songs, including “There’s Only One Everything.” And of course they did my favorite astronomy song….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbgul1NpEA8

  6. Darcy

    2nd album I have purchased on Itunes! TMBG are awesome, and the entire album is equally great!! (FYI, first album I purchased on iTunes was Flobots: Fight with tools, another great album actually worth purchasing!)

  7. I particularly liked the one about the elements…. where did i put that link..?

    oh it’s on youtube.

  8. Cory

    Oh man, I can imagine some kid singing this song in front of their fundamentalist parents after class.. controversy ahoy!

  9. Mike

    Particle man, particle man.
    Doin’ the things a particle can.
    What’s he like? It’s not important.
    Particle man.
    Is he a dot, or is he a speck?
    When he’s under water does he get wet?
    Or does the water get him instead?
    Nobody knows.
    Particle man.

    Triangle man, triangle man.
    Triangle man hates particle man.
    They have a fight, triangle wins.
    Triangle man.

    Universe man, universe man.
    Size of the entire universe, man.
    Usually kind to smaller men.
    Universe man.
    He’s got a watch with a minute hand, millennium hand and an eon hand.
    When they meet, it’s happy land.
    Powerful man.
    Universe man.

    Person man, person man.
    Hit on the head with a frying pan.
    Lives his life in a garbage can.
    Person man.
    Is he depressed or is he a mess?
    Does he feel totally worthless?
    Who came up with person man?
    Degraded man.
    Person man.

    Triangle man, triangle man.
    Triangle man hates person man.
    They have a fight, triangle wins.
    Triangle man.

  10. Brian

    TMBG brings the science! YAY!

  11. Brilliant! I like how they talk about how they enjoy the fairy tales but know when to put the science hat on to understanding reality. That’s such a simple message that really needs to be communicated to the public.

  12. Monkey

    Perhaps we should be playing this instead of the national anthem. Adults can be in need of science more than kids…at least they get it in school. Here are two comments from CBC this morning in regards to H1N1:

    Headline: Vaccinate kids early to fight swine flu

    Story comments (69)

    Sort: Most recent | First to last | Agreed
    Randy Lahey wrote:Posted 2009/09/10
    at 6:47 PM ET

    “Why is the headline telling us to kill our kids?”

    nwo-never wrote:Posted 2009/09/10
    at 6:40 PM ET

    “Amish people don’t get Autiism or Asthma. Weird because they don’t take vaccines either.”

  13. kurt_eh

    Triangle Man kicks a**!

  14. Mike

    @13
    I want to know what happens when Triangle man fights Universe man! @_@

  15. Crux Australis

    My 5yo boy wanted to see this several times after I showed him, and he kept singing “Science is re-re-re-real!” all morning.

  16. KC

    See I told you it’s your new favorite song! :-)

  17. Sorry, not impressed. Considering the dedication of the creationists, they’d better come up with something better than this. How about a basic cable channel dedicated to elementary school kids that has documentaries and entertaining quiz shows, etc., all focused on science of all kinds. Oh wait. There’s probably no money to be made. Nevermind.

  18. Montsecor

    AWESOME!!! I love it why didn’t they exist when I was a kid???

  19. I’ve been a TMBG fan for 20 years and this is long overdue. Awesomely awesome stuff. Be sure to check out the video for “I’m a Paleontologist”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7zo2zY1Zqg

  20. Ryan

    Perhaps getting TMBG to a TAM isn’t out of the question?

  21. Christina Viering
  22. Kevin F.

    TMBG is the awsomest of awesome bands. Another 20 year fan here.

  23. Ha! I just found TMBG’s self-correction of the outdated “facts” in their remake of the vintage song, “The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas” called “The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwroUEJVVmA&feature=related

  24. They’ve got an answer song to “Why Does the Sun Shine?” on the new album. It’s called “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?”

    They explained why they did this in a segment on Studio 360 from this summer.

  25. Dan

    New video for Meet the Elements http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0zION8xjbM&feature=fvhl I love the song, so catchy.

  26. ND

    Promoting a love of science by brainwashing kids through catchy tunes is completely and utterly socialist!

  27. Messier Tidy-Upper

    Great videoclip & song! :-)

    They do get their galaxies confused though – the one at 41 secs in is Messier 51, the Whirlpool galaxy and not our Milky Way as the lyrics “..from evolution to the Milky Way..” seem to imply! That’s my only very minor nit to pick with though.

  28. CB

    Much appreciated. How bizarre it must seem to the rest of the developed world that we feel compelled to defend science.

  29. hhEb09'1

    Check out the prism refraction at 1:48. The light goes through sideways, and the red is refracted more than the violet. OK, it’s a cartoon, and they’re riding unicorns. :)

  30. Those videos are very cool. I’m going to have to show them to my 6 year old son. Especially the Dinosaur one. He’s been on a dinosaur kick for awhile. We saw the Walking With Dinosaurs live show a few months back (I highly recommend it if it comes to your town) and he went to dinosaur camp over the summer.

    Now The Jim Henson Company is producing his new favorite show: Dinosaur Train. The setup is that a family of pteranodons (and adopted T-Rex son) ride a time-traveling train to learn about different species and time periods. Along the way, the kids come up with theories about different things (like how the plates on stegasaurus’ back cool him down) and they test them out. Sometimes they are right, sometimes not.

    This fits in nicely with another Jim Henson favorite of his: Sid The Science Kid. I highly recommend both programs for parents with young children. As a science-loving parent, it’s always nice to see science-based shows available for kids.

  31. @artbot,

    It looks like they not only included “Why Does The Sun Shine?” (the “incandescent gas” song) on this album, but right after it comes “Why Does The Sun Really Shine?” where they sing:

    The sun is a miasma
    Of incandescent plasma
    The sun’s not simply made out of gas
    No, no, no

    The sun is a quagmire
    It’s not made of fire
    Forget what you’ve been told in the past

    (Plasma!)
    Electrons are free
    (Plasma!)
    A fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid

    The sun is no red dwarf
    I hope it never morphs
    Into some supernova’d collapsed orb
    Orb, orb, orb

    The sun is a miasma
    Of incandescent plasma
    I forget what I was told by myself
    Elf, elf, elf

    (Plasma!)
    Electrons are free
    (Plasma!)
    A fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid

    (Plasma!)
    Forget that song
    (Plasma!)
    They got it wrong
    That thesis has been rendered invalid

  32. My copy of the CD/DVD just came in the mail… I mean my KID’S copy just came in the mail… but since it came to my office I’m listening to it first… The Ballad of Davy Crockett (in Outer Space) is brilliant. I’m trying to find the link where one of the Johns talked about having an “actual scientist” help them vet the songs for accuracy. The album is put out on Disney Music… which means I might have to forgive the mouse for inflicting Hannah Montana on the world.

  33. Jim Ortner

    Wow! It looks like quite a few TMBG fans here. I’m another of those 20 year fans. We have most of the CD’s and my kids love them (11, 13 & 15 years old). Listen to them on all our long car trips.

    Jim

  34. Damon

    Great video.

    Cue parents pulling their kids from class, only to inspire those same kids to go out of their way to see something they wouldn’t have cared much about, any way. Thanks idiot boycotters!

  35. David

    What a terrible song and what terrible singing. If any child needs a song like this to help them understand the world, we’re already screwed.

  36. Franchesca

    I understand they did this intentionally.. but I really didn’t see the need for comparing angels to unicorns and calling them simply stories. Evolution and belief in God/religion need not be mutually exclusive concepts. Nobody wants to be looked down upon for their beliefs and I hate to say it, but this video does have smidge of that in it. I really liked the song/video otherwise.

  37. Caveman

    I rememeber the song on one of the Tiny Toon cartoons. It’s still a toon I carry in my head since then.

  38. Smarter Than Poster 27

    @ND Promoting a love of religion through catchy tunes is completely and utterly socialist!

    You realize that forcing kids to go to church and read the Bible is brainwashing them 100x as much as a 2 and a half minute song? You hear the Christian Rock bands? They brainwash kids.

    So next time before posting your one-sided views fueled by your love for slamming a Bible into your face until all your brain cells are replaced by verses of the contradictory “holy book”, please, do it somewhere where anyone with the knowledge of both sides will never. EVER BE!

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