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Scientific hip-hop

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Even though both science and journalism boil down to same idea – explaining how things work – our writing often comes out quite different from one another. Scientists – bless them – usually write for each other, using the dense vocabulary that comes with centuries of increasingly focused study. Reporters then try to translate this painfully precise text into something our parents or kids could understand.

But sometimes, it takes a musician to really explain complicated ideas to the masses.

For example, a YouTube video rapping about the ins and outs of Europe’s Large Hadron Collider got more than 3.5 million views since the clip launched in July. (That's a whole lot more hits than our coverage received.) While not the catchiest tune, the five-minute song received kudos from scores of science blogs and columnists, including the Monitor’s Tom Regan.

Hoping to attract its own viral attention, NASA commissioned a hip-hop history of Astrobiology. The space agency turned to Jonathan Chase, a regular science rapper and post-doctoral student at the University of Glamorgan in the UK.


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