Happy Birthday Marie Curie! Top Five Songs About Science

It's Marie Curie's birthday today, so raise a glass for one of the most historically notable women in science. In case you don't know, Curie was the first person to score two Nobel Prizes — one in physics, and another in chemistry.  Though she accomplished much during her 66-year lifespan (including becoming the first-ever female professor at the University of Paris) her most notable achievements are her theory of radioactivity, isolating radioactive isotopes, and discovering polonium and radium.

We've got your soundtrack for your scientific kickback–and while, unfortunately, most of music's references to science tends to involve unsavory connotations (drugs, man), we've managed to scrounge up a top five (in no particular order) that you (and Curie) can toast to.


1. “Chemistry,” Rush
We all know how much Curie loved chemistry, and it seems Rush (who must be from roughly the same time as Curie–we joke. But seriously.) shares her affection for the field. These song lyrics seems to be mainly comprised of word association with the phrase “chemistry”–“Signal Transmitted/Message Received/ Reaction making impact/Invisibility.” But it has got some pretty rad guitar rifts, which let's be honest, is pretty much all you can ask for when a song is, literally, about the stuff you were forced to study in high school. 

2. “Sounds of Science,” Beastie Boys
This song is pretty scattered, even for the 'boys, who are known for their genre-pushing sound. It still makes for an interesting (and sometimes funny) listen–the trio display their talents throughout the science-minded tune by sometimes going word-for-word on lines, a technique later copied by rappers such as Jay Z and Kanye West.

3.”Tomorrow, In a Year (A Darwin Electro-Opera),” The Knife and Hotel Pro Forma
So it's even less of a song to drink to than the last (I mean, this is science we're talking about–slim pickings) but this opera (with electro music by The Knife) is pretty unique. For one–just look at the crazy visuals, and two, it's based off of Charles Darwin's work. If that isn't nerdy, we don't know what is.

4. “Chemical Calisthenics,”  Blackalicious
Blackalicious' “Chemical Calisthenics” is somewhat reminiscent of a merging of Rush's “Chemistry” lyrics and the Beastie Boy's “The Sound of Science,” but with an educational twist (seriously, if you don't know something about chemistry by the end of this song, you aren't listening hard enough). Hint: keep your ears open for when the rapper mentions “radioactivity”–one of Curie's claims to fame. (Bonus points to those who can name where the term appears in the song in the comments below)

5. “Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas),” They Might Be Giants
Almost as annoyingly bright as the sun itself, They Might Be Giants' peppy ditty is even more informative than Blackalicious' number–“The sun is a mass of incandescent gas/A gigantic nuclear furnace/Where hydrogen is built into helium/At a temperature of millions of degrees.” Thanks for the lesson, guys–guess we can spend the rest of our evening drinking to Curie's memory instead of going to that Science 101 course. 

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