Perhaps you’ve wished, while paging through a heavy textbook on evolutionary biology, that learning the subject could be a little more like an Eminem concert? If so, rush over to a New York theater where the rapper Baba Brinkman is ready to fill your brain with his one-man show, “The Rap Guide to Evolution.”
The project began when Brinkman got a call from evolutionary biologist Mark Pallen, who asked him to compose a rap in honor of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. Says Brinkman: “All winter I sent him copies of my rap lyrics, and he came back with corrections, which means my hip-hop show is peer reviewed.”
Here’s a segment of his show:
Olivia Judson, who praised the show in The New York Times, says she suspects this is “the only hip-hop show to talk of mitochondria, genetic drift, sexual selection or memes.” She continues:
[Brinkman] is a man on a mission to spread the word about evolution — how it works, what it means for our view of the world, and why it is something to be celebrated rather than feared.
Brinkman is performing his show through Saturday, May 8th at the Bleeker Street Theatre in New York City. If you can’t make it to the show, head to DISCOVER‘s Bad Astronomy blog for another sample of his fine work–featuring remixed Richard Dawkins.
Bad Astronomy: Evolution: That’s a Rap
Discoblog: Sneak Preview of Darwin: The Musical
Discoblog: Buzz Aldrin, Rapper?
Discoblog: Worst (and Best) Science Rap of the Week
Discoblog: Carl Sagan Sings Again: Symphony of Science, Part 4
Former man-on-the-moon Buzz Aldrin apparently has taken one giant leap for rapkind: He has recorded a rap song called “Rocket Experience.”
Aldrin teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, and Soulja Boy to produce the rap. Check out the video spoof of Dogg, Jones, and Aldrin recording, Spinal Tap style. Aldrin hopes the song will foster an interest in space in today’s young people. He told USA Today:
“I’m not too good at carrying a tune, but I do have rhythm,” says Aldrin, who got the idea from a family member who felt the genre would have a broad reach. Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, which promotes science and exploration, is one of three beneficiaries of the song’s iTunes sales. “I want kids interested in space. It’s their future”….[Aldrin] says rapping with Snoop Dogg proved almost as daunting as space. “Snoop had this great hand language going as he sang, which was hard for me,” Aldrin says. “But when it comes to getting people’s attention, comedy goes a long way.”
Discoblog: “Air Guitar Hero” Helps Amputees Test Out New Arms
Discoblog: Candy Wrapper Sends French Woman on a Space Flight
Discoblog: Blasting Lasers into the Sky To Make Lightning
Image: flickr / insidetwit
Even P. Diddy hasn’t rapped about science. But that didn’t stop NASA from paying a post-grad student named Jonathan Chase to write a hip-hop song for the European edition of its Astrobiology Magazine. NASA wanted Chase to help make astrobiology reach out to the known life in the universe (us!), rather than unknown life in space.
We can’t help but wonder, did NASA really want a scientific hip-hop song so badly that they asked a British guy to rap? Still, on the science end, Chase is far from unqualified: He studied aerospace engineering and science fiction in college, and is currently studying science communication in graduate school. [Clarification: While folks at NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine did invite Chase to contribute the rap, they did not actually pay him for it. In case you were worried about your hard-earned tax dollars going to rhyming limeys.]
Question: How do you celebrate the culmination of 14 years of work to build the world’s largest particle accelerator?
Answer: By rapping (and bad dancing.)
Yes, the Large Hadron Collider, that 17-mile ring under the Swiss and French Alps, is fast approaching its official launch date a week from tomorrow. And while scientists have been running tests and warming up its accelerators to prepare for the day, something else has been heating up: an online video of a rap about the LHC, created by Kate McAlpine of Michigan State University.