Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Creative Mind: Engineers, Scientists and Music

I'm sitting in a meeting when, looking down at my notepad, I noticed that I had jotted the name of "Tesla" on it some time ago. I forgot why I had to remind myself about Tesla when I last used this pad of paper, but seeing the word made me think of this truly aweful song from the 1980's called "Tesla Girls", which got me thinking about songs with titles that would be relevent to engineers. Not able to let a good mind contest go unchallenged, I began to list any song that referred to engineering or science. This brief distraction gave me something to ponder as the meeting wound down and by the time I was ready to put away my pen and pad, I had produced 4 or 5 titles. Not wanting to keep this game to myself, I shared the challenge with my co-workers and now with you. My co-workers immediately doubled the size of my list.

Is there some connection between the musical arts and engineering?

A quick google search on "engineers and music" yielded an article from the University of Wisconsin "Engineering students find harmony between music and math". According to the article most of the students in the UW-Madison marching band are not music majors. "In fact, engineers constitute nearly one-fifth of the 330-member band, and the skills they display on the field carry over to the engineering campus, just beyond the stadium. "

There is at least one engineer in every instrument section. “The engineers I work with are always very bright, and they are often very athletic,” says Band Director Michael Leckrone. “These kids have a great work ethic, and they want what they do for recreation to be something meaningful.”


harmony... harmonic balance? and music. what would this produce via an internet search. Well it's on youtube of course. Harmonic Balance, the song.

Now engineers making music is quite different from songs with engineering themes in the title, but I thought tying the two together might ligitimize the odd journey my wandering mind had taken. Probably not. Anyway, if you find your mind adrift in a meeting, try taking this musical trivia challenge and let us know what you come up with.

Here's our list so far.

1. Tesla Girls by OMD

2. Make a Circuit with me by Polecats
(note: this one has the most references to actual electronics)

3. Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant

4. Weird Scince by Oingo Boino

5. She blinded me with science by Thomas Dolby

6. What's the Frequency Kenneth by REM

7. Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths & Fatal Attraction

8. Radio Radio by Elvis Costello

9. Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo

10. Radio Waves by Eli Young Band

11. The Microwave Song by The Softlightes

with Thanks to Pat Hindle and Barb Walsh

1 comment:

  1. Hats off to Mike Hallman for "Radar Love" by Golden Earring