by Tommaso Dorigo

Do you know the works of Tim Blais, the guy behind “A Capella Science”? I sincerely hope you do, but otherwise this post is for you. Tim has a youtube page where he publishes his amazing works.

Tim sings modified lyrics of famous songs, and mixes them with multiple tracks of his own voice imitating each of the instruments of the underlying orchestra, or other choral voices. Until here you could well say there’s nothing new under the Sun, except that Tim has been capable, through amazing mixing and editing skills as well as awesome vocal gift, of producing quite entertaining videos. But there is more.

The fact is that the lyrics he composes are great, too. In a five-minute song he is capable of telling the story of how the crispr-cas9 technique works, as well as hinting at its possible future impact on humanity; or explaining how exoplanetology became a thing, and how it has changed forever our perception of the Universe; or how evolution works; or what is the Higgs boson; and so on. If you have never heard any of that, I sort of envy you as listening to those videos today will make your day!

I know there are different opinions out there on whether these kinds of products constitute effective science popularization or just expendable info-tainment. In my opinion, however, the needle is steadily pointing at the former. And that is why I have invited Tim to perform in the CERN Main Auditorium, in little over a month from now.

On September 19th, at 7PM, Tim will perform for the CERN community, in an event organized by the AMVA4NewPhysics ITN network. The event is possible thanks to the funding that the network received by the EC through the “Horizon2020” Marie-Curie Actions (with grant agreement 675440, if you really needed this bit of info).

Tim’s performance is the ending of a two-day workshop that the ITN holds at CERN, to interrogate itself, with the aid of experts, on what constitutes effective outreach in science, and how to improve the impact of our science popularization activities as scientists. After a day of internal discussion of our outreach practices, for the second day we invited the following speakers, who accepted to lecture us during an open session of talks:

Leonardo Alfonsi
James Beacham
Jon Butterworth
Steven Goldfarb
Patrick Koppenburg
Claire Lee
Arnauld Marsollier
Sascha Mehlhase
Dario Menasce
Matteo Polettini

So if you happen to be at CERN on September 19, do not miss the opportunity to discuss effective outreach with us (details on the venue and the schedule will be available soon here and on the amva4newphysics blog), and by jove, mark your calendar to make sure you get to the main auditorium for Tim Blais’ performance!