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Music Video Makes Light of the Dust-Up Over Gravity Waves

The guy behind "Bohemian Gravity" has done it again with "The Surface of Light," a video that sets the controversy over gravitational waves to music.
Image: Tim Blais
Tim Blais takes on cosmic inflation, gravitational waves and extragalactic dust in his latest scientific musical parody, "The Surface of Light."A Capella Science

The guy behind "Bohemian Gravity," arguably the most popular music video ever made about string theory, has done it again: This time he uses a "Lion King" melody to add some mirth to the past year's controversy over primordial gravitational waves.

Tim Blais, the physicist-musician behind A Capella Science, took to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on Monday to unveil "The Surface of Light," which he sings to the tune of "The Circle of Life." He sings all the parts, a cappella, thanks to the magic of video editing.

Blais' latest parody tells the story behind Big Bang inflationary theory, the cosmic microwave background, the BICEP2 experiment's seeming detection of primordial gravitational waves and the Planck mission's determination that the readings were due instead to galactic dust — all with a beat you can dance to.

Here's how Blais describes the ups and downs experienced by the BICEP2 researchers, in "Lion King" lyric form: "Their purported observation / Was a cause for jubilation / At a South Pole science station / But had faulty estimation / Of a dusty compensation / Calling off the celebration / And with this new implication / Now we need more information."

Give a listen to the six-minute video for the full treatment — and for the latest about the science behind the song, peruse this prose.



— Alan Boyle