13th July 2024

‘The Elements’ – A pithy list song by Tom Lehrer

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Tom Lehrer, born in 1928, a retired mathematician, lecturer and satirical songwriter got a number of successful albums released during the 1950s and 1960s. One of them was ‘The Elements’. It is a song about the 102-element periodic table to the tune of the Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. The lines of the song consist of the names of the elements. The first two and the last two lines are as under –

There’s antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium

And hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium

_ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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.

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