What would you rather watch? A Lady Gaga spoof or Sydney Brenner?

Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) shared this wonderful Lady Gaga lab spoof on Twitter the other day. It rocks.

And, it makes me wonder if my pals who've been thinking about getting students interested in careers by having scientists talk on camera might be going at this the wrong way. Sure, videos of scientists talking are totally fascinating (yawn..) and...

Oh right, where was I?

Well, here's the thing. If you want to get kids interested in something, you have to use something that interests them. Your strategy isn't going to work unless the kids find it intriguing enough to go watch it on their own.

My kids will go watch a Lady Gaga video. Lots of cajoling, promises, promises, promises, let's face it. Maybe my kids are not like other kids, but nothing will entice mine to go watch career videos and they're certainly not going to go looking for them on their own. Interviews with amazing scientists, like the ones that the Cold Spring Harbor Lab education group made with Syndey Brenner in DNAi are entertaining for teachers, but they put teenagers to sleep.

Lady Gaga, on the other hand....

Well, kids will watch music.

I thought it might be fun to compile a list of our favorite music videos (lab related our course!) and suggest these to high school teachers who are seeking to interest students in lab careers.

"I want your glove, yeah, yeah, yeah, I want your glove"

What's your favorite lab music video?

10/4/2010 Update: @Bora kindly let me know that this video comes from one of our Sciblings. Yeah! And, she has posted the complete the lyrics here. Nice work Christina!

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I guess I have to question the whole premise. Why in the world would you try to interest kids who are not already interested in a science career? Nothing good can possibly come of enticing impressionable young people into a difficult career on the basis of nerdy remakes of popular songs.

This song is fun, and nothing more. I think it is highly unethical to try to use subterfuge like this to encourage students to enter an over-crowded and under-appreciated field. If students already have a passion for science, fine. Otherwise, leave them alone and let them make their own decisions based on the reality of a scientific career.

The GAGA Pokerface parody, Neutra face, wherein the danger of being stuck in the office late is exhibited, and speaks to me of the many hours I spent laying out school magazines :-)


Piffle, Tex. Most kids do NOT have any idea of what a career "feels" like. This has a realistic lab, crowded (unlike movie sets). It shows *real* researchers, who are quite young, and quite fun-loving... again, not what they may have seen in "science labs" in movies. It isn't a matter of making someone who isn't interested in science want to be a scientist, but letting someone who likes science, but maybe thinks they'd be bored and intimidated by formality know there are places they would be at home in.

By Samantha Vimes (not verified) on 03 Oct 2010 #permalink