UW professor a mad scientist behind songs about science


by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MegCoyleKING


Posted on February 9, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 9 at 7:20 PM

SEATTLE -- A University of Washington professor is part of a federally funded project to push science through songs. 

When Dr. Greg Crowther isn't working to save the world from malaria, he's rhymin' and designin' his latest rap. Spittin' out dope rhymes, as they say, that speak to the inner-geek. Crowther co-chairs the project designed to make science standout to students.

He's created a database of thousands of science songs covering everything from Malaria to myofibrals to a love song of sorts about nucleas 31-P. 

"It's a way to connect with people on an emotional level that maybe transcends the usual logic and rationality science is associated with," Crowther says.

Crowther may specialize in preventing infectious diseases, but this is work he hopes is contagious. 

"I would like to see their legitimacy and perceived legitimacy increase so more teachers feel comfortable using them in the classroom," he says.

Crowther isn't the first lab rat to take on lab rap. But he and a collegue from the UC Davis are collaborating on a project encouraging teachers and students to follow in their dance steps. 

"They'll remember they wrote a song about bacteria and they can still tell you the words and they can still tell you what those words mean," says Crowther.

Kayode K. Ojo can still sing the periodic table of elements. Now he is a Ph.D. working alongside Crowther at UW's Van Voorhis lab to develop a drug to stop the malaria that has menaced his family back home in Nigeria. 

"My mom would have malaria 4-5 times a year. And we don't have a lot of resources in Africa," says Ojo.  Now he's taking part in life-saving science that started through songs with serious staying power.

Dr. Crowther's work is funded through a grant form the national science foundation.  You can check out his blog http://singaboutscience.blogspot.com/.