Science Sings in a Light-Hearted Video Toronto Star

Science Sings in a Light-Hearted Video

by Michael Smith

It takes a lot of moxie to sing about science. After all, entropy, energy, matter, all that stuff...Who could make music with that? Moxy Fruvous, that's who - the Toronto singing group whose previous excursions into the realm of the scientific have included a scholarly report on alternate food sources (Green Eggs and Ham) and a description of the effects of class on occupation (King of Spain).

Band members ride exercise bikes (and rowing machines and a railway handcar) into the wonderful world of energy in a new science video, intended for high-schoolers, called Energy: The Pulse of Life. Producer Jack Micay, who also co-wrote the four songs on the half-hour video, says music is "a way to overcome the barriers that keep a lot of kids from enjoying science or even from overcoming their fear of science."Many kids, Micay says, "assume that science is going to be boring and dry. It doesn't have to be."

"We did have a blast" doing the video, group member Jean Ghomeshi said. But it was a little off their usual path. "We're very interested in writing satirical songs," he said, "So this was something that was a good cause - I don't mean that in a philanthropic way - but also a fun thing to do." Science is something Ghomeshi admits he found challenging in school: he, like the other band members, Mike Ford, Murray Foster and David Matheson, studied humanities in university.

"I still find, even with the aid of the animation and the music, (the video is) a lot to take in," Ghomeshi said. The group's favourite part was a song about the laws of thermodynamics, in which they appear in mock Victorian costume. The video is a light-hearted look at energy: what it is, what we do with it and how scientists came to understand that, despite its varied forms, all energy is fundamentally the same.

The notion of energy is "one of the dazzling generalizations ever to come the way of science," Nobel prize winner John Polanyi says in a non-musical interlude on the video. The video will premier Sunday at the Ontario Science Center. Admission is free with entrace to the center.

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