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BioPop: 10 Songs That Should Be On Every Biologist’s iPod

BioPop: 10 Songs That Should Be On Every Biologist's iPod

The late Francis Crick once said that “Trying to determine the structure of a protein by UV spectroscopy was like trying to determine the structure of a piano by listening to the sound it made while being dropped down a flight of stairs.”

But, if you thought that protein structure determination was the closest that biologists got to making music, you’d be wrong. It turns out that behind the veneer of the laboratory, biopop – a thriving underground biology music scene – is just waiting to burst onto your iPod (or other music player).

For your listening pleasure, I have scoured the internet to bring you 10 of the very best songs that biopop has to offer. From Unca John’s bluesy “Growth Hormone Hero” to Amy Hartnell’s karaoke classic “Form a phosphate-ester link (to carbon three)” to BioRad’s slick but shamelessly corporate “Scientists for Better PCR”, every taste is catered for.

Whether you love, hate or even make biopop, be sure to make your views or your favorite songs known here.

Here’s the biopop top 10. Enjoy:

1. The Professor And The Punk
Gregorio del Laboratorio and Do Peterson
Album:Greg’s Science Song Music

2. Growth Hormone Hero
Unca John’s Blues Band
Album: The Beta Blocker Blues

3. Scientists for Better PCR
Artist:BioRad/Various Artists

4. Biochemistry Pie
Kevin Ahern
Kevin Ahern’s Wildly Popular Metabolic Melodies

5. Form a Phosphate-Ester Link (to Carbon Three)
Artist:Amy Hartnell+You on lead vocals
Album:Musical Chemistry

6. Necessary But Not Sufficient
Science Groove

7. That’s What Slugs Are For
Jessica Raaum
Album:Greg’s Science Song Music

8. The Michealis Anthem
Harold Baum
Album:The Biochemist’s Song Book

9. Why You Look Like Your Father
Dr Chordate
Album:Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Groundhog

10. Horse Haemoglobin
UCLA Scientists


  1. Nick on January 21, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for the heads up guys – looks like we could make a top 20. I had no idea that biopop was so huge!

  2. scienceguru on January 20, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I agree with what David says but you also can’t forget Weird Al’s “Pancreas” and “Bacteria” songs either.

    I mean, anyone who can work in ‘Islets of Langerhans’ into a song has to be a pretty clever fellow, don’t you think?

  3. maximilian on January 20, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    the structure of a piano is quite easy to determine, just ask your good friend rosalind… sorry, couldn’t resist… 🙂

  4. David Crotty on January 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    You’ve missed out on probably the best geek-pop musician out there, Jonathan Coulton. Not only does he do a regular podcast for Popular Science magazine, he’s also supplied soundtracks for special issues of their magazine. Most of his songs can be downloaded for free, or at least heard at his site:

    My personal favorite science song is “That Spells DNA” although “Mandelbrot Set” is a close second.

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