Genetic Crossroads

The intersection of biotechnology, reproduction and society

Science History Rap Battle: Franklin vs Watson & Crick

Here's a way to learn science by teaching it, in rap form.

The seventh-graders at KIPP Bridge Charter in Oakland, CA, guided by science guy Tom McFadden, have put together a fabulous rap about Rosalind Franklin's role in the discovery of the double helix. Check it out:

Ain't nobody fresher than Watson and Crick (Crick, Crick)

That is, until Rosalind Franklin hits the screen …

Uh huh… that's my pic …

Oh yes, there's science in there—helical dimensions and phosphates on the outside—and there's also a sense of people doing science, mixed motives, prejudices and all. The lyrics (partly annotated) are here. McFadden's website has more, including links to other science rap battles, on the status of Pluto and on Wegener and continental drift, and background on making these videos. 

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The Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bring Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning and Engagement in Science) competition in August drew attention from NPR and Wired (the winner was on the Quest for Joulelry), and this glorious take-down of Watson & Crick has been widely noticed around the web.

It has not escaped my notice that you're a jerk 

I should have got a Nobel for my work …

Pete Shanks is the author of Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed.


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