Are You A Researcher Who Rocks?

By Chris Mooney | October 21, 2010 11:57 am

Rock Stars of Science Spread (final)_Page_1Readers know well that here at the Intersection we care a great deal about increasing the public visibility of science, and trying to ensure that our researchers are recognized as the national heroes they are. That’s what Unscientific America was all about.

And that’s why I’ve decided to team up with an initiative that has dramatic potential to make Americans far more aware of science, and it’s importance to our future.

That initiative is the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Rock Stars of Science™ campaign–whose most famous image is pictured at right.

Geoffrey Beene is a designer men’s clothing brand; its foundation funds philanthropic causes–many of them relating to the advancement of biomedical research and the search for cures for devastating diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

For instance, in 2006 it founded the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), and has given over $ 110 million in value from Geoffrey Beene combined entities to innovative translational cancer research.

Rock Stars of Science™ is another Geoffrey Beene initiative, designed to raise the visibility of our leading researchers by pairing them with musicians–and showing that scientists rock and are themselves celebrities and superstars. To that end, it launched a spread in GQ magazine last summer, depicting folks like Francis Collins jamming with Joe Perry. One key goal? Increase funding for medical research–and inspire young people to pursue scientific careers.

The next installment of Rock Stars of Science™ is going to be in GQ‘s December “Men of the Year” issue. I’ve seen it–it’s going to get people talking. Stand by for more about that.

But in the meantime, Rock Stars of Science™ has put a call out to any scientists who are also musicians, like Pardis Sabeti or the Professors of Bluegrass, or Andy Revkin’s “Uncle Wade” (surely science journalists also count): Identify yourselves! The Rock S.O.S.™ website is going to feature tons of videos of scientists performing music, and it’s calling for the submission of links to scientist-musician videos.

Know of any musical scientists? Happen to be one yourself? You should send an email to Include: your name, e-mail address, short bio including research specialty & additional weblinks. And heck–post anything you may know of in the comments section here as well.

(That includes you, Sheril. We all know you’re a drummer.)

I can’t wait to start posting and watching some of these vids….to start off, here’s “Arlington,” written by top science reporter Andy Revkin and performed by his band “Uncle Wade”:


Comments (10)


    Lyrics : David Gray Lyrics : Draw the Line Album : Full Steam
    Full Steam Lyrics – David Gray
    All our lives we’ve dreamed about it
    Just to find that it was never real
    Coming closer each turn of the wheel
    Forlorn, adrift on seas of beige
    In this our Golden Age
    Even in our darkest hour
    Never thought that it could get so bad
    Bullied, suckered, pimped and patronised
    Every day your tawdry little lives
    So loose your head
    And step within
    The silence
    Now you saw it coming
    And I saw it coming
    We all saw it coming
    But we still bought it
    You saw it coming
    And I saw it coming but still
    Running full steam ahead
    In and out of consciousness
    It breaks my heart to see you like this
    Crying, wringing hands and cursing fate
    Always so little far too late
    It’s 3am I’m wide awake
    There’s still one call to make, one call
    Now you saw it coming
    And I saw it coming
    We all saw it coming
    But we still bought it
    You saw it coming
    And I saw it coming
    We all saw it coming
    But we still bought it
    Running full steam ahead
    Running full steam ahead
    Running full steam
    Gonna cover my eyes, gonna cover my eyes
    Runnin’ full steam, yeah
    Now you saw it coming
    And I saw it coming
    We all saw it coming
    But we still bought it
    You saw it coming
    And I saw it coming
    We all saw it coming
    But we still bought it

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, est. 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC

  2. Chris Mooney

    Found another one–the Amygdaloids

    ” scientists who shed their scientific garb at night and take to the stage with songs about love and life peppered with insights drawn from research about mind and brain and mental disorders.”

  3. Lindsay

    My friends, the Clinical Girls! Two members are getting Ph.Ds at the University of Texas at Austin, live music capital of the world.

  4. Chris Mooney

    Lindsay–get them to submit! I’ve found some more and will be posting soon

  5. Chris Mooney

    Quick stuff from the web….

    Jay Clark is a musician and wildlife ecologist

    Patricia Gray is a pianist who has performed at the White House and also studies biomusic–the musical sounds of all species

    Stuart Clark is a science writer .. and a rock God

    There’s a blog, musicians and scientists, written by a scientist musician named Eva

    Einstein was a violinist, and Galileo was a musician as well. I think there’s a deep lode here

  6. Jon

    Milo Aukerman of The Descendants has a phD in biochemistry and is active in research

    Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has a phD in zoology/evolutionary biology

    Both bands have been very successful in the punk scene for decades, and I seem to remember Bad Religion sponsoring a scholarship for science students.

  7. Bee

    Where have all the flowers gone?

  8. Karen

    Bab Brinkman does evolution, global warming, brain science and human nature rap:

  9. Chris

    Let’s not forget Brian May of Queen with a PhD in Astrophysics


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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