The Sceptical Chymist | Organic chemistry for the YouTube generation

Published in Chemistry

Spoof music videos offer the chance for ageing chemistry geeks such as myself to relive both their chemical and musical past. This video in particular was the cause of much hilarity within the Nature Chemistry team. This video is great – although one of the early lyrics ‘in the lab, working alone’ is a cause for concern – so let’s hope that it is there for artistic reasons rather than anything else. But can such videos serve any useful purpose?

Well, this would be a fairly boring blog post if the answer was “No”, so I was delighted this weekend to hear from Neil Garg at UCLA about a small video project set as part of the sophomore organic chemistry course. For a small extra credit, Garg asked his class to make music videos highlighting aspects of the course.

No less than 140 out of 240 enrolled students took part and made a total of 61 videos – I’ll be interested to hear from Neil when the exam results are in! Although the videos are worth very little in the final score, it’s hard to believe that the students failed to learn something useful in the way of organic chemistry from making them.


Stephen Davey (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)

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