Blogroll: Beyond big bangs

    Science music videos face single combat, flashy chemistry talks come under scrutiny and we salivate over cake.

    “Two videos enter. One video leaves.” So says Lauren Wolf in the introduction to her post titled Video Thunderdome on C&EN's Newscripts blog ( Taking her inspiration from the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Wolf uses the gladiatorial approach to assess two chemistry-focused music videos. One is from the Science Rapper, whose previous claim to fame is a video about PCR. He has now moved on to cover structural biology, parodying a Saturday Night Live video. In the other corner is The Chemistry Jock, a video created by three students in Neil Garg's class at UCLA. “He offered them an extra-credit assignment to make a music video about organic chemistry”, Wolf said, and had more than 60 responses. Lyrics from the The Chemistry Jock include “I start to see the bonds; they're forming in my head, Alkene won't reduce? Try a catalyst instead.” At the time of writing, the UCLA offering had 68% of the vote — and 1600 hits on YouTube.

    On New Scientist's S Word blog (, Andrea Sella ponders the use of “bangs and flashes” in public chemistry talks. He's quite the expert, having done several banging flashes on BBC TV programmes. But he is “nagged by one question: aren't we misrepresenting our subject?” He's particularly worried that these spectacular effects “leave out that deeper story that underpins the amazing phenomena”. Sella points out that too many of these shows “have little or no plot”. He goes on to suggest that “we need to become real storytellers” and “to probe deep into the personalities of the strange and abstract characters that populate the scientific worlds”.

    And finally ... the science blog of the Guardian has a long, interesting and mouth-watering article by Andy Connelly about 'The science of cake' ( If you have ever wondered what goes on between flour, eggs, sugar and fat in the mixing bowl and the oven, this post is for you.

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    Blogroll: Beyond big bangs. Nature Chem 2, 605 (2010).

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