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Sci-Pop: Science of Why

Sci-Pop: Science of Why



It used to be all about garage rock and acid jazz, but now sci-pop is all the rage. Who knew science and music could make such a handsome pair? Tune in every Monday and let the Null treat you to sci-pop classics, and some cheeky chat with the artists. Go on, indulge your inner geek.



This week, songster Duncan Lockerby tells the Null how he defined a new genre - the sci-pop love song.

The Science of Why by Duncan Lockerby

Engineers need love too. The pressures of fluid dynamics research (every pun intended) appear to have put strain on Duncan Lockerby's relationships over the years. But not being one to wallow in the depths of self loathing, Lockerby put his feelings into a song. Then, like every good rock star scientist/sci-pop maestro, he took that song and peppered it with some science metaphors. Perhaps aptly for a lecturer in engineering, these metaphors take the shape of some fundamental laws of physics.


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The first law Duncan sings about is Newton's first law of motion: a body will remain at rest, or at a constant velocity, until an outside force acts upon it. This is why we need to put energy into moving, and it is how the orbits of the celestial bodies manage to stay constant. We're talking inertia here people.

Next we're treated to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that systems of energy will tend to increase their entropy, and so become more random and chaotic. Tell me about it Duncan, tell me about it (you should see my desk).

For the third and final law we're back with the granddaddy; Newton, who's third law of motion has it that every force has an equal and opposite reactive force. This is the law that allows you to run in to the arms of a loved one, or for a loved one to flee from you into the the arms of another.

Who would have thought that classical mechanics could be so poetic?

Words by Neal Anthwal, interview by Hayley Birch.

Listen to last week's Sci-Pop Single, or check out more stuff on sci-pop, love and the like at the Null:


- The List - The definitive list of sci-pop songs, created by our readers
- Geek Pop - The Null's virtual sci-pop festival
- Podcast - The Null Pod archive - sometimes we play jingles
- Birds (not that sort) - Love songs for love birds

Title image: rolve
Other image: kinlove





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20 Jul 2017
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