Tom Lehrer

August 23, 2007

I have always been a huge fan of mathematician and musical satirist Tom Lehrer. In fact I had a precious autograph, dating back to the late 50’s, on a scrap of paper taped to my piano until it got lost in one of many house moves only a few years ago. His irreverent, clever and somewhat anarchic songs appealed to my particular sense of humour and I learned many of them. My mother laughingly regarded allowing letting her children listen to Tom Lehrer and read Mad Magazine as amongst her greatest failures as a parent.

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I was delighted to have stumbled upon a site which features some new (to me) Tom Lehrer songs. It seems that young Harvard physics professor and later Nobel Prize winner, Norman Ramsey recorded (for those technically minded – on a wire recorder) a 1951/2 physics department review written by Tom Lehrer called The Physical Review.   

Some familiar songs such as ‘The Elements’ and ‘Fight Fiercely Harvard’ originate with that show but a number of them never made it to record. Fortunately the recording of most of those unreleased songs are available on the website.

It is worth noting the CVs of Lehrer’s fellow performers. These were not young students in an undergraduate review. These were already a very distinguished bunch of post doctoral physicists.

I hope that even though these are tight times for universities, there are still groups of high-flying PhD’s treading the boards.   

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One Response to “Tom Lehrer”


  1. […] approach to the subject of mathematics and music than my previous post and probably worthy of Tom Lehrer. Posted by cyberslacker Filed in Music, Web […]


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