Ensonglopedia of Science

by John Hinton



Soundtrack to the live show Ensonglopedia of Science, in which John Hinton sings a song about science for every letter of the alphabet


released May 23, 2017



all rights reserved
Track Name: A.T.O.M.G (AKA A Is For Atom)
'Atom' - from the Greek words 'A', meaning 'not',
And 'temnein', 'to cut', because it was thought
That atoms were unbreakable
And utterly unshakeable,
No part of them was takeable,
Their oneness unmistakeable,
But now we know they're breakable,
And we do it quite a lot.

An astronaut has trillions of trillions of atoms,
And that's just in a single strand of armpit hair,
So hold on to your noses, and let us see what happens
If we take a trip in there.

Impossible to count cos there's so many of them.
So small that they are totally impossible to see.

So let's dive down to the depths of the atom.
It's a world so wild that it's difficult to fathom.
The tiny things whizzing round the outside
Are electrons five or six femtometres wide.
A simple fact that you've got to embrace
Is that most of an atom is empty space.
If an atom was a big as Westminster Cathedral
The nucleus would be a baby bee busy buzzing in the middle.

Impossible to count cos there's so many of them.
So small that they are totally impossible to see.
Now back to the bee...

That bee is made of hadrons - which are protons or neutrons -
Which are held together with the help of gluons.
Now, we're getting quite advanced for the brighter sparks,
But hadrons actually consist of quarks,
And of what sort of thing do those quarks comprise?
Well, if you can tell us that, you'll win the Nobel Prize.

Even air is literally swarming with them.
I can't believe that there are oh so many many trillions of trillions of those things in me!

Track Name: Big Bang Little Bang (AKA B Is For Bang)
Big Bang, little bang,
Somewhere-in-the-middle bang.
Big Bang, little bang,
Somewhere-in-the-middle bang.
Big Bang, little bang...

I'm going to look at three bangs of differing sizes,
And then I'm going to look at how each one arises.

Bang one was one hell of a bang!
It was the biggest ever bang that was caused by man.
It was the detonation in 1961
Of the 57 megaton Tsar bomb.
Dang! What a bang! Bones shook! Ears rang!
The island of Severny was a bad place to hang
On October 30th when that thermonuclear warhead blew.
Man it was big, but not as big as bang two.

Bang two was back in twenty-thirteen.
It was the biggest bang of any sort that man had ever seen.
It was a gamma ray burst - the explosion of a star -
Three point seven billion light years away - well far!
Dang! What a bang! And of such collossal size
That a similar one much closer would lead to our demise.
It was spotted by the Fermi Space Observatory.
Man it was big, but not as big as bang three.

Bang three was a mother of a bang.
It was the bang in which time and space themselves began.
A little under fourteen billion years BC
The bang occurred that kickstarted reality.
Dang! What a bang! And what's more, it's still going,
And the radiation from its early stages is still glowing.
And though it started out infinitessimally small,
Man it turned out big. It was the biggest bang of all.

Big Bang, little bang,
Somewhere-in-the-middle bang.
Big Bang, little bang...

And so we've looked at three bangs of differing sizes
And now we're going to look at why each one arises.
Bang one, the Tsar bomb, was a test run for
An even bigger bomb developed in the Cold War.
Luckily that war ended before it was deployed
And before a major city could be destroyed.
Bang two, the gamma ray burst,
Occurred when lots of high-energy photons were dispersed
From the site of a gigantic supernova,
Which meant the life of a very big star was over.
Bang three, the Big Bang, how did that one come about?
The fact is, we just don't know, and I doubt
That there'll ever be an answer on which we all agree.
That's A and B dealt with, now on we go to C.
Track Name: The Cell Calypso (AKA C Is For Cell)
'Cell' - from the Latin word 'cella', meaning 'cellar',
Like the room in your house where you store your wine,
And no matter whether you're a girl or a fella,
Your cells look a lot like mine.

Now start to swing those cells in your hips so
That you can join me in the cell calypso.
You got to move every cell in your feet.
I wanna see your cells a-jigglin' from across the street.

So when I see you shakin' your body,
It's like your cells are having some kind of party.
Every cell is designed for particular task.
The muscle cell do what the brain cell ask - oh yes!

Your body's always redesigning in lots of ways.
You'll have a new stomach lining in just four days,
And a new set of lungs every six-ish weeks.
Every month, you'll grow a brand new layer of skin on your cheeks.
Your cells duplicate when they get worn.
You are not the same person as when you were born - oh no!

You ought to know that deep inside of your cells
Are little blobby things they call organelles.
These organelles they do all the hard labour
That gives all the cells their distinctive behavior.
They make proteins and help the cell duplicate.
If you didn't have cells you'd be in a right state - oh no!

And now it’s time to do the
Ensonglopedia Conga,
Na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na!
I promise you that nothing
Can possibly go wrong-a,
Na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na!
It shows you how the cells work
Together to be stronger,
Na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na!
But now we’re at the end of
This most peculiar song-a,
Na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na!
Which means that we can’t do the
Conga any longer!
Track Name: DNA DnB (AKA D Is For DNA)
I'm gonna delve deeper into the human cell,
Through the nuclear membrane, the protective shell
In which forty-six molecules have set up home.
They're made of DNA and they're the chromosomes.

They're made of D...N...A...A...A...
Deoxyribonucleic Acid... Acid... Acid...

DNA is the set of instructions
That gives the directions for how the cell functions.
It's the code so the organism knows how to grow,
Whether feathers feature, whether you're adapted for the snow.
It was DNA placed those ace features on your face.
Drop drop drop... the nucleobase!

When a cell divides, it first makes a copy
Of the DNA, but cell division can be sloppy,
And the new DNA can have tiny mistakes,
And oh what effects a mistake sometimes makes!

Mistakes can cause diseases like cancer,
But changes also mean there's a chance o'
Mutations creating helpful adaptations
And that's evolution, but it takes a lot of patience -
Generations upon generations,

And it's all thanks to D...N...A...A...A...
Deoxyribonucleic Acid... Acid... Acid...

And now that we know how the code fits together,
We can set to work and make unhealthy organisms better.
DNA is the key to the needs of the species;
Diseases can cease if we replace the right pieces.

Splice that code! Cut it up! Rip it, flip it, drop it in a new place,
With my programmable endonuclease,
But only under supervision in a highly regulated lab space.
Drop the nucleobase.

Adenine, Guanine, Thymine, Cytosine,
These are the bases, these are the jigsaw pieces, that make up each gene,
Which work together to help your body parts slot neatly into place,
And this double helix rises like a phoenix to continue the race.
Drop the nucleobase.
Track Name: Folk Funk Fusion (AKA F Is For Fusion)
Dm. F. C. Am
The future - what does it hold?
G. G7. F. Dm Dm C F
What lies in store when our children grow old?
Dm. F. C. Am
Will subsequent centuries enjoy the same luxuries,
G. G7. F. Dm. Dm C F
Or will our overindulgences leave them in the cold?
G. Bdim
The fossil fuels are running out.
C. Am
There's not much oil or coal left to shout about.
G. Bdim C. Am
The stores are diminishing, they'll pretty soon be finishing.
G7. F. Dm
What can be done about this drought?

We can harness the wind
C. F
And the sun and the sea,
G. G7
And that way we'll begin
F. Dm
To be fossil-fuel-free,
But there is another science
Just around the bend
That means our fossil fuel reliance
Could be coming to an end:

F. Dm
It's called Fusion - FUSION!
G. C. AM
It's the energy source that the sun itself is usin'.
It's Fusion – FUSION !
Upon which our grandchildren's world will be cruisin'
There's a bottomless supply.
And that's the reason why
F. C. G
The future looks brighter with Fusion.

Dm. C. F. G
There's no long-term waste! It's incredibly efficient
Dm. C. F. G
and safe from meltdown in a way fission isn't.
Dm. Dm7. C. Am
It's friendlier than attacking our landscape through fracking.
Dm. F. G
It's undeniable that it's viable and reliable.

Dm Am F G
The biggest Fusion plant yet
Is a machine called JET
Up in Oxfordshire,
Where it's become clear
That fusing hydrogen is tough,
And even JET's not big enough -
They'll need a bigger prototype
To live up to all my hype,
So they are building one in France
That's gonna greatly enhance
Mankind's ability
To make cheap electricity,
And once that day is here,
We can finally clean up our atmosphere

With Fusion- FUSION!
It's the energy source that the sun itself is usin'.
It's Fusion - FUSION!
Upon which our grandchildren's world will be cruisin'.
There's a bottomless supply,
And that's the reason why
The future looks brighter with Fusion.
Track Name: The Jurassic Jive (AKA J Is For Jurassic)
I’d like to take you back two hundred million years ago.
Some super-scary reptiles are about to put on quite a show.
Throughout the Triassic
They were waiting in the wings,
But now it’s the Jurassic
And they’re gonna be kings.
They’re the fiercest-looking coolest-jiving lizards that you ever did know.

They’ve arrived,
They’re gonna thrive,
And in order to survive,
They’re doing the Jurassic Jive.

There are so many jivers about, but first let’s bring our focus
To the giant of the bunch: it’s the one they call the diplodocus.
These plant-eaters
Grow to over thirty metres,
With a tail whose tip
Might function as a whip,
So let’s not hang about anywhere within its locus.

Look up into the sky and you’ll spot the Archaeopteryx
A-swoopin’ and a-divin’ and a-showin’ off his aerial tricks.
A fact that’s widely know by every dinosaur nerd
Is that this may have been the world’s very first bird,
And if you ain’t got no jivin’ partner, that’s a thing the Archaeopteryx can fix.

They’ve arrived,
They’re gonna thrive,
And in order to survive,
They’re doing the Jurassic Jive.

I’d like to introduce you to some friends they call the Stegosauruses.

But why d’ya s’pose we have these spiky plates on our back?
Is it to regulate our heat? Or to protect us from attack?
Does their colour change to help us to send signals to the pack?
Are they just for show, or is it sexual partners they attract?
Or are they simply there to help us jive to these choruses?”

They’ve arrived,
They’re gonna thrive,
And in order to survive
They’re doing the Jurassic Jive.

I know you’ve all been hoping to meet Tyrannosaurus rex
But he did not appear until the Cretaceous, which came next.
Track Name: Scientists Don't Karaoke (AKA K Is For Knowledge)
Scientists don't karaoke,
They don't do the hokey-cokey,
They're not copycats,
They don't copy facts,
They don't just say

Scientists they go to college,
Where they learn to seek new knowledge.
When they find it,
They don't mind it
If others make sure that their knowledge is demolished.

Science advances
By taking chances,
Not by copying another person's dances.
Scientists they don't assume they know it all,
They know that in the scheme of things the part they play is small.

How do we know that we know what we know?
Well, we get a hypothesis and give it a go.
In science, knowledge is a slippery fish:
A scientist only ever knows-ish.
Track Name: Phylogeny Of The People (AKA P Is For Phylogeny)
Phylogeny of the People! A C A
It shows that we are all equal! A C A

A phylogeny E A
Is like a family tree E A
It shows that everything on earth is related to me E A D
If you travel down the tree of life twig by twig E A
You'll find our common ancestor with the pig E A D
Not to mention the fig C
And the guinea pig E

We gotta smash up the notion to which we've clung D
That the human race is somehow at the top of the tree A
Yeah it's pretty cool that we've survived this long D
But so has every single living bird and bee A

Power to the people! E A
But equal power to the chimpanzees! E A D
Power to the seals E A
For science reveals E A
The common root to our phylogenies. E A D

Phylogeny of the People! A C A
It shows that we are all equal! A C A

The tree of life is growing E A E A
Evolution is ongoing E A E A
Where it will lead, there is no way of knowing! E A E A E A E A

Phylogeny of the People... C D
Yeah! E
Track Name: Do The Quantum Entanglement (AKA Q Is For Quantum)
There's a brand new d-d-dance craze, I'm hoping that you'll give it a go.
It started off in C-Copenhagen, ninety years ago.
It's a revolutionary way of moving your body,
Yes you're going to shake your p-p-particles really oddly,
So follow these instructions and let's make this an interactive show.

Do-do-do the Quantum Entaglement, it goes like this:
Wr-wr-wrap your arms around each other so they're in a right twist,
St-st-stick your tongue out, and make sure that all your fingers are bent,
And that's the Qu-qu-qu-qu-Quantum Entanglement!

Do-do-do the Quantum Entaglement: take paired electrons
And s-s-send them into space in opposite directions.
Now unt-t-tangle one, and just as soon as that is done
You'll know the qu-qu-qu-quantum spin of the other one!

Spin up, spin down.
If you've got one the other must be around.
This is not the action of some spooky quantum phantom:
It's simply conservation of angular momentum.

Do-do-do the Quantum Entanglement, and in the future,
You could be the basis behind every computer.
To help mankind in making this most coveted transition
Just hold an infinite number of states in superposition.
And that's the Qu-qu-qu-qu-Quantum Entanglement!

That’s the Quantum Entanglement.
Track Name: The Relativity Rap [feat. MC Squared] (AKA R Is For Relativity)
Ja, you’d better come prepared,
This is MC Squared,
Here to tell you that relativity
Need not make you scared.
Ich bin the crazy-haired rapper who has dared to declare
That the E is the M to the C to the square.
This is energy-mass equivalence –
There’s no ambivalence –
It's a theory that has been confirmed by all available evidence.
I’ll set the world aflame with my outrageous claim:
There is no such thing as a fixed reference frame.
I’m gonna give reality a brand new face,
Gonna communicate my case, gonna prove it to be true.
I’m gonna lay before you a theory of space…
Und it’s about time too.

The Special Theory of Relativity
States that what's true for you might not be true for me.
I'm laying down the law and I'm making it rhyme:
The speed at which you're travelling affects both space and time.
Let's give two twins identical clocks,
And send one off into space while the other darns his socks,
And on the day the spacefaring twin has returned,
One quick check of their clocks will confirm
That the travelling twin is younger than the one who stayed at home;
Time is not set in stone.

E equals M to the C squared,
Gimme E equals M C squared, everybody now,
E equals M to the C squared.
Gimme E equals M C squared.

The General Theory of Relativity
Explains what's really going on with gravity.
Though Newton would be mad at me, it’s not a force at all:
It's the warping of space-time that causes things to fall.
If you do the necessary calculations you'll observe
Mass causes space to curve.

E equals M to the C squared,
Gimme E equals M C squared, everybody now,
E equals M to the C squared.
Gimme E equals M C squared...
Track Name: Space, Man (AKA S Is For Solar System)
Let's go to space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.
Let's go to space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.

Let's go to the Sun, that'll be fun, our journey's only just begun.
We'll get a nice tan while we plan the rest of our holiday.
There's no need to bring your skis, it's 5,500º,
And I am sure you'll be so pleased that you'll want to stay.
But next on our itinerary is the planet of Mercury.
It's currently the place to be if you are sick of the sea.
The Sun is so big in the sky that the surface is totally dry,
And that's probably why nobody's ever been by,
But we are breaking that trend, we're doing space end to end.
You're my intergalactic friend.

Let's go to space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.

Let's go to Venus, the planet of volcanic activity.
The air will consume us before we've had time for a cup of tea.
I'm not so up for this so let's give that one a miss,
And also skip the Earth ‘cos I’ve been there from birth.
Mars is my kind of dive, it's got a much nicer vibe,
And it might just contain life.

Let's go to space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.

Jupiter is the biggest of all, the giant gas ball -
Through the layers of liquid metal we will fall.
Saturn is next, it's quite complex,
It's got so many rings that it leaves me vexed.
Uranus is famous as the planet whose name is
Most likely to cause mirth and to entertain us.
Yes it’s quite blue, but there’s not much to do,
I suggest we just pass through,

And continue into space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.

Neptune is such a very very distant place
That we are now doomed never to rejoin the human race.
And that’s it – there used to be nine,
But then the word ‘planet’ got redefined
And poor old Pluto didn’t count any more,
And beyond that who knows what lies in store?
But we're not going to find out by staying indoors.
So stop hesitating, procrastinating, what are you waiting for?

Let's go to space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.
Let's go to space, man, shame to let it all go to waste, man, let's get into space.
Track Name: It's Time (AKA T Is For Time)
It's time...
It's time to move on up to the fourth dimension,
And ask ourselves: is time just an invention?
It's a thing that we can't see or smell or feel,
So in what sense can we even say that time is real?

Time, we're told, is an arrow,
And this seems to make sense:
It always points from the past to the future tense.
But most equations in physics
Would function backwards through time,
Contradicting our instincts
That time is a one-way line.

I query a peerless time scientist about this,
And even she admits
That as you zoom in it's
Hard to be sure
That time is not a figment
Of our imagination,
A human sensation
With no true foundation.
We're all just as ignorant
On this score.

But she says there are clues
That time is not a ruse,
In quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics,
And the direction of electromagnetic potentials,
So maybe events really are sequential.

Time: it’s the tick tock trickle,
Beat by beat and breath by breath.
Time: it's essentially a product of entropy
That started with a bang and ends in heat death.

And yet,
Time and time again,
Time evades me.
Ask Einstein: there's no static Spacetime,
And with no fixed grid of second or minute to
Pin it to,
It slips betwixt my fingers,
Sand flowing free of the hourglass,
Casting me out at last
Into a timeless sphere
In which I disappear,
Because I am here
Because time is here.

Time: it’s the tick tock trickle,
Beat by beat and breath by breath.
Time: it's essentially a product of entropy
That started with a bang and ends in heat death.

Time can be tempo, the rate of your flow:
How slow can you go? How slow can you go?

Relativity, times Entropy, equals Time, to the power of Techno.
Time's up.
Track Name: You (AKA Y Is For You)
Am. Em Dm G
Yoddele-hiii-you are a miracle, the pinnacle of four billion years of natural selection.
Dm G
The arrow of time has pointed in your direction.
C Em
Yode-lay-hee-you are a star, I mean it literally, that is literally what you are.
Every atom in your body was once in a star.
You've come so far.

Am Em Dm
Yode-lay-hee-you gestated in the beautif’lest yo-de-lad-di-lad-di-la-dy's uterus,
With kickings and hiccupings and Braxton Hicks contractions.
Dm G
At birth you had a brain with 50 trillion neural connections,
Which three months down the line will have multiplied by twenty times.

Yoddelehi-you have superpowers.
You're a survivalist - every climate is yours for the conquering.
You take life as it comes.
You're also good at conjuring
Up useful artefacts
With your opposable thumbs
That look just like your mum's.
You have two eyes and two lungs and two kidneys and a healthy heart that's busy pounding.
Dm G
You're two thirds oxygen, one fifth carbon, one tenth hydrogen and 100% astounding.

Bless you!
Bless you!
Track Name: Zero, Zilch, Zip (AKA Z Is For Zero)
C. F. G
In the beginning, there was zero, zilch, zip.
Then, for the past fourteen billion-odd years, we've been on a gigantic non-zero trip.
But it can't last forever - nothing can -
Sooner or later, even the Universe will reach the end of its life span.

We've got it good here, we've got all the atoms we need.
We've got atoms to eat, and atoms to sleep on, and atoms to drink and to breathe.

Am. Dm. G
Let us fast-forward through time, past old age, past our grandchildren's grandchildren's birth,
Am. Dm. G
Past the sun's transition to red giant phase and the absorption of the Earth,
Bdim. C. Am
Past the last ever star's last gasp, past the last ever asteroid's atomization,
Dm. F. G
And long after that, past the final black hole's final wisp of Hawking radiation.

C. F. G
Zero is the state to which we'll return,
An infinite void
Where all is destroyed
F. G
And there's nothing left to burn,
C. F G
And that's how it's meant to be,
C. F G
And it's part due to Entropy,
C. F G
And partly Dark Energy.
C. F G
Basically, we're in jeopardy.

But it's not all bad news!
Let's not sit around and mope!
G. Bdim
There is hope! There is hope! 'Least I hope there is hope!
Am. Dm
Perhaps perhaps perhaps perhaps
G. Bdim
There's a chance the expansion will turn to collapse,
Dm. Em. G. C
And we'll get to do the whole thing all over again!

In the beginning, there was zero, zilch, zip,
And maybe there still is nothing: some think the entire Universe is simply a random blip,
And one day, one way or another, we'll be returning to zero-land:
So I hope you haven't got anything too long-term planned.