21 June 2011

Great moments in science music: Nemesis

This song has three ties to science.

  1. It is the only song I know not only to contain the word “parthenogenesis” (a frequent topic of this blog!), but to use it in the chorus as part of the rhyming scheme.
  2. It’s about the theory that a dwarf star is responsible for periodic mass extinctions in the fossil record, and this hypothetical star was called “Nemesis”.
  3. Stephen Jay Gould mentioned it in a essay on mass extinctions. He wrote that the lyric, “You can’t imagine / how bad it gets” was a fair estimation of the song itself. Ouch.

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