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Mama Mia, Mama Mia! A Canadian Bohemian Rhapsodizes About String Theory

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 11:13 AM

Let me confess right off that I didn't understand anything Tim Blais sings in this video, except that it's hard — very hard — erase-the-blackboard-constantly-in-frustration hard — to find a mathematical theory that explains everything in the universe. That's OK. I'm not a physicist, so this isn't my problem. But when Tim produces an Albert Einstein sock puppet having a high-tenor tantrum, I found myself doing a little happy dance.

With no apologies to Queen, this is Tim's "A Capella Science" take on String Theory set to Bohemian Rhapsody. He calls it "Bohemian Gravity." He's 23. He wrote this. He sang this. He designed this. He's amazing.

A year ago Tim's college paper, The McGill Dailysat him down and asked "who are you?" He says he grew up not too far from Montreal, that he's been a science nerd all his life, or for as much of it as he can remember. When he was about 3 or 4, he says ...

a kid in my preschool introduced me to "Bill Nye The Science Guy," which became the only TV I watched for about six years. After kindergarten I didn't go to school until Grade 10, but was homeschooled by my parents. We had a very multifaceted way of learning [...] that I think allowed me to see the big picture of things without getting bogged down in the horrible little details that are often the stumbling block when you start learning something. That gave me a fascination with science that's essentially carried me through a science DEC and one-and-a-half university degrees. But my parents have always been super cool about not pressuring us kids to be anything in particular, and now to show for it they've got an emerging rock star — my brother, Tom; a dedicated speech pathologist — my sister, Mary-Jane; and me, researcher in incomprehensible physics and recently popular internet fool. I think they did alright.

Me too. And if you liked this video, you should know he's got a few others. Last year, his A Capella Science version of the Higgs boson, sung to Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" was a monster success. The McGill paper asked him if he considered himself a singer or a scientist and he answered, "I don't really know what I am. I'm a person with varied interests." I think that's kind of obvious.

Thanks to Jacquie Lowell for sending this video my way.


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Comments [3]

Aimée from Arizona

This video/song/science play is absolutely fantastic!!! Thank you so much Robert Krulwich and Radiolab for making it available to us :D

Oct. 05 2013 07:53 PM
John from Indiana

I wonder if Brian May, the Queen member turned PhD astrophysicist, has heard of this.

Sep. 23 2013 05:39 AM
Patricia Worth

As far as I'm concerned...the string theory needs lots more 'splainin'!!!

But t'was pleasant listening!!!

Sep. 19 2013 06:48 PM

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