The Physics Bus

SteelyKid, like most toddlers, knows a few songs, and likes to sing them over and over. Her repertoire is limited to “ABCDEFG” (the alphabet song, but that’s how she requests it), “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “Some man” (“This Old Man,” which I only figured out this weekend), and “Round and Round” (“The Wheels on the Bus”). I get a little bored with the repetition, and so tend to make up my own verses, which get sideways looks from her, followed by telling Kate “Daddy’s silly!”

I’ve been posting a lot of these on Twitter over the past several days (@orzelc), but for posterity, a few physics-related verses (some of which haven’t made it to Twitter):

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

round and round, round and round,

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

All through the town.

Heisenberg’s on the bus, or maybe not,

maybe not, maybe not…

Schrödinger’s cat on the bus is alive and dead,

alive and dead, alive and dead…

Einstein on the bus says “Don’t play dice,”

“Don’t play dice,” “Don’t play dice,”…

The Feynman on the bus plays bongo drums,

bongo drums, bongo drums…

Gell-Mann on the bus says “Eightfold Path,”

“Eightfold Path,” “Eightfold Path,”…

Dirac on the bus says ”       ,”

”       ,” ”       ,” …

The baryons on the bus say “Quark quark quark,”

“Quark quark quark,” “Quark quark quark.”…

The fermions on the bus have spin-1/2,

spin-1/2, spin-1/2…

All the bosons on the bus are in one state,

in one state, in one state…

The neutrinos on the bus have almost no mass,

almost no mass, almost no mass…

The speed of the bus is less than c,

less than c, less than c

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    October 11, 2010

    Has SteelyKid figured out that “The Alphabet Song” and “Twinkle, Twinkle” (as well as “Baa Baa, Black Sheep”, which may or may not be in her repertoire) use the same melody?

    There are a few other versions as well. The one I remembered without Googling was a tribute to Franz Josef Haydn, whom the verse implies wrote the tune. Wikipedia says no (although it dates from that period): the original is a French nursery rhyme, “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman” (published 1761).

  2. #2 Sili
    October 11, 2010

    Dirac on the bus says ” ,”
    ” ,” ” ,” …

    HAH!

  3. #3 Chad Orzel
    October 11, 2010

    I forgot one:

    “The monkeys on the bus, they type Shakespeare, type Shakespeare, type Shakespeare…”

  4. #4 S.C. Kavassalis
    October 11, 2010

    That is very cute!

  5. #5 Bob O'H
    October 11, 2010

    Ah, so that’s what this was all about. Fortunately I never learned that song, so I’m spared that earworm.

  6. #6 perry
    October 11, 2010

    for Dirac you could use spin, antimatter, monopoles. I’d go with

    “must be spin” from a musical POV

  7. #7 Natalie
    October 11, 2010

    And I thought my kids were going to grow up geeky with a biologist and a mathematician for parents. I must say, we’ve never thought to add famous scientists to the bus, though.

  8. #8 Drivebyposter
    October 11, 2010

    Do you plan to teach your child physics at a young age? Maybe that’s the way they should be raised…if they grow up on complex difficult to understand ideas, they won’t have to alter their worldview to understand the ideas later. Plus they have a head start when it comes to science fairs.

  9. #9 Birger Johansson
    October 12, 2010

    Re. @ 8: Yes, at age 5 and a half, I read a well illustrated description of the coming Apollo journeys (this was Xmas 1966) and I became hooked on space and rockets for life…at one point, I had actually memorised the positions distances and absolute magnitudes of the 20-30 brightest stars! Things like this made me motivated to seek out books at the library to go beyond the literature available at school on the various topics that interested me.
    I only hit a major snag at relativity and quantum physics, but I have since learned that most others also need time to digest the implications of those two fields…

  10. #10 MRW
    October 12, 2010

    Since at least one person seems to have missed the joke about Dirac: He was famously quiet. I’ve read that his colleagues came up with a unit called the Dirac, defined as something like 1 word per hour.

  11. #11 Nick
    October 12, 2010

    These are awesome. Kid music is like torture for me, so anything to make it more amusing is most welcome. “The speed of the bus is less than c…” Hah!

  12. #12 Roger3
    October 12, 2010

    As for the request for ‘Some Man’, I suspect that it’s because the phrase ‘This Old Man’ is runningtogetherinsteelykidshead. I’ve caught my daughter doing much the same thing. When you sing the song, notice how you drop the ‘d’ in old if you’re not paying attention to enunciation.

  13. #13 Drivebyposter
    October 16, 2010

    @10
    I had no idea what/who Dirac was…so I just tried to imagine what Orac would be saying on a bus
    Dr. Jay Gordon is a quack, is a quack, is a quack

    Or

    Everyone on the bus should be participating in double blind clinical trials, clinical trials, clinical trials

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