Science student’s rap explodes on YouTube

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

By Sabrina Abraham

“I’m gonna pop some carbs, only got a lil’ glucose in my pathway....” These lyrics to the tune of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop are indeed awesome. Written and recorded as part of a song contest at the University of Ottawa, third year student Wilson Lam from the Faculty of Science has seen his song become a YouTube hit in the past 3 months.

Since being posted in January, his video has been viewed over 100,000 times and has been picked up by popular sites including Reddit, DVICE, io9 and Scientific American, in addition to various science blogs.

“I wrote it in one night,” explains Lam. “If I knew it would have been this big, I would have spent more time on it. I literally just picked up the TCA cycle and wrote off of it. I looked at what I could include and what rhymes I could make until I went around the whole cycle.”

The TCA/Krebs Cycle is a metabolic pathway that generates energy in living organisms. The rap song has also found its way into lecture halls across North America.

Lam has been overwhelmed with the number of comments he’s received from students in Canada and the U.S. who have expressed how much they love the song after being shown the video by their professors.

“People are actually using it as a study tool….I would have never imagined that,” he admits. “I don’t normally use music to study or remember stuff, but now that I’ve figured out how useful it can be, I might start!”

Lam hopes that his video will help debunk the generalized notion that scientists and artists are at two completely opposite ends of the social spectrum.

“I think that sometimes people forget there are two parts to the brain—one that’s creative and one that’s logical…you’re supposed to use both,” he says.

Now uOttawa students who have a passion for both music and science no longer have to choose to pursue just one of these paths. A combined Bachelor of Music and Science is now offered jointly by the faculties of Arts, Science and Engineering and is the first of its kind in Canada.

“Just the fact that this program exists shows that the University is actually responding to people who enjoy both of these things. The program allows them to pursue two different passions instead of limiting them to just one—which is awesome!” concludes Lam.

Watch Lam’s TCA Cycle rap (in English).

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