A few weeks back, associate editor Sally Adee spotted a music video on YouTube that struck her fancy, plus it actually offered some real scientific background on the controversial Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest subatomic particle accelerator. So she posted it to our blog (please see Large Nerd Collider).
(The controversy over the LHC comes from skeptics who claim the operation of the accelerator could result in producing artificial black holes that could eventually swallow the whole planet: see Courts Weigh Doomsday Claims at MSNBC.)
For a publication such as IEEE Spectrum, which sometimes runs the risk of seeming a bit, uh, studious (if that's the right word), it was a breath of fresh air. So we decided to promote it in our weekly Tech Alert newsletter, which goes out to thousands of our readers. Guess what happened next?
Yep, the video, "Large Hadron Rap," went viral. As of today, it's been viewed at YouTube more than 750 000 times. It's so hot that the Associated Press has now noticed. The news service ran an article on the hip-hop video yesterday: This ain't no jive, particle physics rap is a hit.
The creator of the tune, Kate McAlpine, a 23-year-old Michigan State University graduate, has now become something of a phenom in the science community.
"Rap and physics are culturally miles apart, and I find it amusing to try and throw them together," McAlpine, a science writer at CERN in Switzerland, commented recently.
Just in case you've missed it, here's the video again:
Now, we're not saying that we had anything to do with its meteoric popularity, but we at least recognized a good thing when we saw it.