Sunday, 14 September 2008

Large Hadron Collider - All Aboard the Hamster Run of the Gods

Our largest kept the middle-sized one awake for hours on tuesday night by whispering "Hey, the world is going to end tomorrow!" often enough to disturb her pleasant thoughts of fairies and Disney Princesses and set her worrying about if she would miss Christmas this year or ever see her friends again.

In the days prior to this, most TV and radio stations had summoned a tame scientist, preferably one who didn't look too scary, to explain that there was a more than 99.99% probability that the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern would not create a black hole capable of swallowing up the Earth.

The more mathematically astute among the ten-year-olds boys at their school thereby calculated that there was anything between a one in five possibility and an absolute one-hundred per cent certainty that they would get to see the coolest fireworks display in the entire universe if not every galaxy in the solar system before lunchtime.

I listened to the grand switching on in the car on the way to work, but have resisted looking for a picture of it - I would prefer to imagine it as some outlandish Heath Robinson contraption crossed with Mad Max 2. On the radio, the control room was described as looking like any normal office, which was hugely disappointing. I am sure that if you were listening you would have been as cheered as I was when Professor Lyn Evans muttered about it failing to work on its first attempt because someone had forgotten to pull a stopper out.

If you have ever kept guinea pigs, you may have noticed that if presented with a length of drainpipe to run through they will run gleefully along inside until - before long - the leading hog will inevitably stop and turn around while all of the others are following up behind, which leads to all sorts of squeaking from the tube and much amusement among watching humans. If that isn't the inspiration for this experiment then it jolly well ought to be.

Except, of course, that a clutch of small and not very intelligent rodents getting themselves in a muddle probably isn't quite as dangerous as scientists colliding atoms with a view to creating black holes, although it's not hard to imagine the fun which any radicalized wing of guinea pig fanciers could have if it were.

Anyway, as I've not been able to find my copy of the compilation I was intending to post this week I'm striking while the iron's hot and declaring it ~ SCIENCE WEEK ~ and posting six - yes SIX - fantastic science albums for kids.

Again, my brood have had great fun listening to these, and I am hugely indebted to Jef Poskanzer for posting these in the first place. The songs are all posted individually here, along with scans of the covers. If you'd rather get them all in one go - and save this splendid gentleman some bandwidth - I've put albums 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 into RAR files. The links are beneath the track listings. You don't need all three parts at once for it to work - although if you download one you will almost certainly be back for the rest!

Tracks are:

Space Songs

Zoom A Little Zoom
What Is The Milky Way
Constellation Jig
Beep, Beep
Why Does The Sun Shine
What Is A Shooting Star
Longitude And Latitude
It's A Scientific Fact
Ballad Of Sir Isaac Newton
Why Are Stars Of Different Colors
Why Do Stars Twinkle
What Is Gravity
Planet Minuet
Why Go Up There

Energy & Motion Songs

What Is Energy (part 1)
Grand Coulee Dam
Solar Energy
Energy In Roundabout Ways
What Is Energy (part 2)
Kinetic And Potential Energy
Ultra Violet And Infra Red
What Is Chemical Energy
How Do We Measure Energy
Motion, Motion Everywhere
Thumbnail Sketch Of Atomic Energy

Download Part One

Experiment Songs

It's A Magnet
We Know The Air Is There
We're Making Heat
Ice Is A Solid
Why Do I Have A Shadow
Rocks And Gems And Minerals
The Earth Goes Around The Sun
Why Is It Raining Raindrops
Where Does The Sun Go At Night
What's Inside Our Earth
Where Does The Sun Rise
How Many Colors Are In The Rainbow
Who's Afraid Of Thunder
It's A Magnet, reprise

Weather Songs

What Makes The Weather
Where Is The Stratosphere
The Water Cycle Song
Why Does The Wind Blow
How Clouds Are Formed
Warm Fronts, Cold Fronts
What Is Humidity
The Hurricane Song
Why Is It Hot In The Summer
Highs And Lows
What Makes The Lightning
Stratus And Cumulus
Snowflake, Snowflake
What Does The Glass Of A Greenhouse Do
What Is Climate
What Makes The Weather, reprise

Download Part Two

Nature Songs

Introduction To Nature Study
Why Do Leaves Change Their Color
What Are The Parts Of A Tree
What Is An Insect
What Is A Mammal
How Do The Fish Swim
Song Of The Rocks
The Birds Have A Language
How Does A Bird Sing
What Does A Bird Have That I Have Not
How Silk Is Made
What's In The Ocean
How Do The Seeds Of Plants Travel
The Balance Of Nature

More Nature Songs

How Does A Frog Become A Frog
What Is An Animal
Bobo The Bear
Song Of The Fossils
How Does A Cow Make Milk
The Conservation Song
Why Is The Sky Blue
What Makes A Rainbow
Let's Wander Thru The Seasons
Why Does A Bee Bzzz
What Are The Parts Of A Flower
The Face Of The Earth Is Changing

Download Part Three

I'm hoping to be able to put together another compilation of bonkers kids songs - on a science theme - to post towards the end of the week. I have enlisted the help of middle-sized one to quality control all music posted here for me, so at least until she discovers music which isn't like the stuff I enjoy and on which I can't make out the words it will all be guaranteed child-friendly. If you have any ideas for songs which might be included please post a comment - indeed, please feel free to post a comment anyway.

Thanks very much to the two hundred plus people who visited my blog in its first week, and I hope you'll stop by again!


kaspian said...

Such a cracking great post, thank you very much! This takes me right back to the days of Mr. Wizard on American television.

Why is it, do you suppose, that latter-day kids' science shows don't quite seem to have the old magic? It's not as though science has become less pertinent in our daily lives. It's not as though kids have become less imaginative or less entranced by the daily wonders all around them. What is it, then?

Wild Man Mikey said...

Hi Kaspian, thank you very much for taking the trouble to comment! Thank you for your other comment also, which I thought I'd accepted but seems to have been eaten en route to the blog! I shall have to google for Mr Wizard. I knew almost nothing about science until I started reading to our science obsessed oldest and now I know quite a lot... Here in the UK we have some quite inventive science programmes for small children, but they tail off as they get older. I was disappointed by the coverage of the LHC on TV - not a single science related programme across the five main channels anywhere on the day! Take care, TheW

Anonymous said...

Dear Wild Man,

please re-up Science-Songs, if you feel like it.
And: Thank anyway for the entertaining blog.