Gilbert and Sullivan (and Cambridge, Condensed-Matter Physics, and The Elements)

Tom Lehrer once proclaimed, as part of the song “Clementine,” that songs from Gilbert and Sullivan (especially when it comes to a “rousing finale”) were “full of words and music and signifying nothing.” Of course, Gilbert and Sullivan often provide a great foundation to write a parody, as Tom Lehrer himself demonstrated in “The Elements” (and […]

Ant men who really love their mother

This half-century-old song by Tom Lehrer seems—save for its failure to mention ants—to anticipate a study published this month about ants: “Virgin ant queens mate with their own sons to avoid failure at colony foundation,” Christine Vanessa Schmidt [pictured here], Sabine Frohschammer, Alexandra Schrempf, Jürgen Heinze, Naturwissenschaften, vol. 101, no. 1, January 2014, pp 69-72. […]