A Conversation for The Periodic Table of the Elements

Tome Lehrer

Post 1


Enjoyable article that helps to de-mystify the periodic table.

To people of a certain age, no reference to the periodic table is complete without reference to Tom Lehrer, who set the table to the music of a Gilbert and Sullivan song! Probably missing a few elements nowadays!

Tome Lehrer

Post 2

Clive the flying ostrich: Amateur Polymath | Chief Heretic.

This one you mean?

There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium And hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium, And nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium, And iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,

Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium, And lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium, And gold and protactinium and indium and gallium, And iodine and thorium and thulium and thallium.

There's yttrium, ytterbium, actinium, rubidium, And boron, gadolinium, niobium, iridium, And strontium and silicon and silver and samarium, And bismuth, bromine, lithium, beryllium, and barium. There's holmium and helium and hafnium and erbium, And phosphorous and francium and fluorine and terbium, And manganese and mercury, molybdenum, magnesium, Dysprosium and scandium and cerium and caesium, And lead, praseodymium and platinum, plutonium, Palladium, promethium, potassium, And tantalum, technetium, titanium, tellurium, And cadmium and calcium and chromium and curium.

There's sulphur, californium, and fermium, berkelium, And also mendelevium, einsteinium, nobelium, And argon, krypton, neon, radon, xenon, zinc and rhodium, And chlorine, carbon, cobalt, copper, tungsten, tin and sodium.

These are the only ones of which the news has come to Havard, And there may be many others, but they haven't been discovered.

clive smiley - winkeyesmiley - laugh

Tome Lehrer

Post 3

Jon of POB

Its 152 of them I believe (I've heard that somewhere I didn't count them), which was correct at the time of publication (1959).

The song is thus missing:
Rutherfordium, Dubnium, Seaborgium, Bohrium, Hassium, Meitnerium, Ununnillium, Unununium, Ununbium, Lawrencium and probably many others that hadn't 'been discarvard' when the book I looked that up in was written (2000).

If it was any easier to play Lehrer's original I'd try to add the new ones when I play it, but I don't trust myself to sing round 'Ununnillium, Unununium, Ununbium and Seaborgium'!

Well if I ever discover a new element it will be called of course 'Lehrerium'.

Tome Lehrer

Post 4


Good to see that the great man himself is still very much to the fore. My husband was playing 'the vatican rag' only the other night. This of course meant that for the next two days we would all erupt into 'doing the vatican rag etc' (much to the puzzlement of less discerning people)

I happened to comment to a very talented young musician a few months ago, that I hoped he would include some of Tom's stuff in future performances and he replied that he would love to do some. It was nice to know that the twenty somethings knew of his talent.

Tome Lehrer

Post 5


I know of an opera singer who has "I'll hold your hand in mine" as part of his repertoire! Obviously not for Covent Garden or La Scala!
Alos. one of the senior heads of music at Birmingham Conservatoir will sing the "Irish Ballad" if pushed!

Tome Lehrer

Post 6

Cadi Merchionamercheluned

I like what I have heard of T.L's stuff, which is not much, I'll admit. I have mostly heard his "style parodies" eg "Poisoning Pidgeons in the Park" and an antidote to "Silver threads Amoung the Gold" which I caught the end of on the radio once, but not the title.

I would like to see or read some of his plays - there's one based on two minor characters in Hamlet, and (I think) House of Cards. Did he write these, or am I thinking of someone else?

By the way, I'm 19, so be encouraged. The "next generation" have heard of him - and appriciate him too.

And Clive - thanks for the words to the "Elements" song - I have been trying to get them for years!!!

Tome Lehrer

Post 7

Clive the flying ostrich: Amateur Polymath | Chief Heretic.

smiley - biggrin

I've got a CD "Songs and More Songs" by Tom Leher. It's a quite large compilation of TL with all the old favourites in as well as a few 'orchastrated editions' of songs Like "Poisoning Pigeons" and the "Masochism Tango". I got this from Amazon - you could give them a try if you are looking to find more.

The minor characters in Hamlet? - I think That's Tom Stoppard you're after. The play is Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are dead. there is a film of that incidentaly with Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Richard Dreyfuss. I brought my copy off of Blackstar.
He does lots of that sort of thing - he wrote "Shakespeare in love", I think.

Tom Leher was a Maths Graduate and Lecturer at harvard during the 50's and 60's (he says, busily consulting the inner sleeve of the CD, for biog information in an attempt to appear sauve and knowledgable.)

Clive smiley - smiley

Tome Lehrer

Post 8

Cadi Merchionamercheluned

Thanks for the clarification. Will look out for that CD.

Tom Lehrer

Post 9


Bit late to this thread, but for those with a sound card in their PC or Mac, follow this link (courtesy of Flashimation), and enjoy the master at work.....


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