Friday, November 12, 2010

Harry Potter sings the Periodic Table of Elements

If you've read this blog for a bit, you already know that two things I love are Harry Potter and memorizing lists of facts we're all supposed to know -- through music.  Can you imagine how thrilled I was tonight when my friend Stephanie posted a link to Daniel Radcliffe (movie version of Harry P.) SINGING the periodic table of elements?  But it gets better, he sings it to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's "I am the Very Model of a Model Major General," another favorite thing, which you know if you've read this recent post (with an Obama version)!  Anyway, this is just fantastic and I must file it away in my homeschooling bag of tricks.  What an amazing way to learn this stuff!

To give credit where credit is due, Radcliffe is singing a version concocted by humorist Tom Lehrer.  I've included the lyrics below the video.  Get ready to memorize:

How cool is that?  Here are the lyrics:

The Elements (by Tom Lehrer)
Now, if I may digress momentarily from the main stream of this evenings symposium, I'd like to sing a song which is completely pointless but is something which I picked up during my career as a scientist. This may prove useful to some of you some day perhaps, in a somewhat bizarre set of circumstances. It's simply the names of the chemical elements set to a possibly recognizable tune. 

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.

Isn't that interesting?
I knew you would.
I hope you're all taking notes, because there's going to be a short quiz next period.

There's holmium and helium and hafnium and erbium,
And phosphorus and francium and fluorine and terbium,
And manganese and mercury, molybdenum, magnesium,
Dysprosium and scandium and cerium and cesium.
And lead, praseodymium, and platinum, plutonium,
Palladium, promethium, potassium, polonium,
And tantalum, technetium, titanium, tellurium,
And cadmium and calcium and chromium and curium.

There's sulfur, 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 Harvard,
And there may be many others, but they haven't been discovered. 
Now, may I have the next slide please?
Got carried away there. 


  1. LOL! One of our favorite songs! We had heard that Daniel Radcliffe had memorized this, but never saw the video of him doing it. Thanks for posting the lyrics, it was fun watching my kids try to sing along. :o)

  2. My kids have been attempting it too, but it's a tongue twister! It's going to take some practice :)

  3. I'm not even going to try to sing that. It's crazy that he memorized them all. Wow. O_O

  4. I somehow missed this one when it went through. I am so glad you loved it as much as I did! I love Lehrer so much! I remember singing his "Rickety-tickety tin" to friends in grade school and being greeted with bemused stares.... If you aren't familiar- it is another one worth memorizing :) Though, it is, intentionally, extremely dark!