Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Bang Chronology

It was yesterday -- upon hearing some geological terms in the music streaming from my daughter's computer -- that I became aware of the educational merit of the theme song from television's Big Bang Theory, a show with which I am only minimally familiar.

My first guess was that the song might be by They Might Be Giants, whose nerdy tracks include Why Does the Sun Shine?, which I frequently use in my teaching. But in this case, the artists are Barenaked Ladies, who are five (usually) clothed guys who come all the way from Canada and all the way from the late 1980s.

All of this is in the context of recent discussions about geologic time with students. We have been exploring the possibility  -- suggested by Carl Safina among others -- that we are leaving the Holocene behind as we enter the Anthropocene, in which humans are becoming the principal environmental force on the planet.

Big Bang Theory

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!

"Since the dawn of man" is really not that long,
As every galaxy was formed in less time than it takes to sing this song.
A fraction of a second and the elements were made.
The bipeds stood up straight,
The dinosaurs all met their fate,
They tried to leap but they were late
And they all died (they froze their asses off)
The oceans and pangea
See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya
Set in motion by the same big bang!

It all started with the big BANG!

It's expanding ever outward but one day
It will cause the stars to go the other way,
Collapsing ever inward, we won't be here, it wont be hurt
Our best and brightest figure that it'll make an even bigger bang!

Australopithecus would really have been sick of us
Debating out while here they're catching deer (we're catching viruses)
Religion or astronomy, Encarta, Deuteronomy
It all started with the big bang!

Music and mythology, Einstein and astrology
It all started with the big bang!
It all started with the big BANG!

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