[Video] A Cappella Physics

Combining unlikely duos such as Music and Physics can often lend an unexpected, entertaining twist to both. Tim Blais's "Bohemian Gravity" does just that. (Wikimedia Commons user Clustermote / Wikimedia Commons)
Combining unlikely duos such as Music and Physics can often lend an unexpected, entertaining twist to both. Timothy Blais’s “Bohemian Gravity” does just that. (Wikimedia Commons user Clustermote / Wikimedia Commons)

What do you get when you cross “Bohemian Rhapsody” with a burning passion for physics?  “Bohemian Gravity”, of course!

Allow me to clarify. “Bohemian Gravity” is a cover of the very famous Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This incredible piece of entertainment was entirely created/directed/sung/filmed/edited by McGill Physics M.Sc. student, Timothy Blais. However, this is no run-of-the mill cover; rather than singing the usual lyrics, Blais completely reconstructed the song to elucidate various concepts in Physics, including String Theory and Quantum Mechanics!

While watching the video, my first impression was “Wow, this is incredibly well done!” My second thought: “Hmm… this is starting to get pretty… catchy.” I’ve since moved on to “Why is space nonrenormalizable?!” (I might be on that last train of thought for quite a while.)

More seriously, I was surprised by what an unexpected impact this video had on me. Originally, I had only clicked on the link to the video because the YouTube thumbnail featured a bunch of floating heads all sandwiched together. To be honest, I thought that this looked hilarious and had to see what it was about. Once I navigated to the page, my attention was immediately captured. I remained utterly absorbed throughout the entire song. I was not only thoroughly entertained but also refreshingly enlightened, and inspired to learn more about physics.

Blais has done something both incredible and inspiring – he made science effortlessly interesting. He entertained, amused, and enlightened his audience in an eight minute video. Now that’s impressive.

As a science student, I love science and I definitely find many facets of science to be incredibly intriguing. However, I’ve consistently found science to only be interesting when you make a dedicated, conscious effort to learn and focus on the “interesting” parts. The interest doesn’t always come naturally – it often seems forced, as though learning cool, new science has to be an academic exercise. But it shouldn’t be. And in Blais’ video, it’s not.

Bohemian Gravity is the perfect combination of creativity, modern social outlets (YouTube, that is!), and educational information. Learning science through this video is simply effortless. By using entertainment as a tool to facilitate learning, science grows to be a more intriguing topic to be explored by a more diverse audience.

Through “Bohemian Gravity”, we see that Bill Nye was right: “science is cool!” Now we must figure out how to continue to convey that message to our generation and those to come. Thankfully, that’s a goal defined only by the limits of our imagination…it’s nonrenormalizable!

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