A hip-hop cosmology (Science Advent 13)

(Every day until December 25, I’m posting a science-related image or video and description.)

Day 13

Science, art, math, and music commonly inspire each other: Kepler sought patterns in the Solar System from music, Charles Mingus wrote a composition about human evolution, M.C. Escher and Roger Penrose exchanged ideas about art and geometry. Many scientists are musicians (including myself, in a small way).

A growing movement is even more explicit about bringing music and science together, using hip-hop to help kids learn about science. My friend Danielle “The Urban Scientist” Lee has written and spoken extensively on the topic, and you can find all sorts of examples of high school kids writing their own science raps — some of which are really great. (I’m possibly the worst rapper in existence, so I’m merely a listener, not a creator.)

Now we will soon have an album from Wu-Tang member GZA, who has been working to help increase access and interest in science to New York schools. The album is called Dark Matter, which you know got my attention. The video above is one of the songs from the album rendered as poetry, in which he describes the Big Bang and the origin of matter. He takes some artistic license, but not much — the science is sound, and even more, GZA is obviously an artist struck by the wonder of the cosmos.

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