Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

android tablet pc

Home > Press > Musical video, 'The Nano Song,' a megahit on YouTube: Cal contest entry explains nanotechnology to a gaggle of dancing puppets

How would you explain "nanotechnology" to a science novice? A group of UC Berkeley students and alums answered this call with a pint-sized video — part "Sound of Music," part Muppets, part Dan the Science Man — whose online reception has been anything but small.

Musical video, 'The Nano Song,' a megahit on YouTube: Cal contest entry explains nanotechnology to a gaggle of dancing puppets

Berkeley, CA | Posted on March 6th, 2009

"The Nano Song" features music and lyrics by the multi-talented Ryan Miyakawa, a 27-year-old pianist-composer and engineering grad student. UC Berkeley junior Glory Liu — a classics and political economy major with three years of classical music training — does the vocals, cheerfully explaining nanotechnology to a band of puppets: "A million nanometers that are lined up in a row/Are just about as long as a single flake of snow…." The piece went online Feb. 22, when the group submitted it to an American Chemical Society (ACS) contest, for Nano 101 videos no more than three minutes long.

Fame wasted no time. By early March, "The Nano Song" had spread virally, with mentions by, Scientific American, WIRED, and boingboing. When YouTube featured the video on its home page, it quickly racked up close to 300,000 hits (as of the first week of March), along with a mountain of comments from viewers, like "'Nano Song' is rocking the globe!"

"I turned comments off after the first 200," says Miyakawa.

Nanotechnology is a hot topic in science and engineering, but experts in the field have trouble explaining it to the uninitiated, he notes. On the nano-contest website — where ACS posts submissions and viewers vote for their favorites — he found many "boring" explanations of nano-scale particles at "10 to the minus nine." Instead, he says, "I wanted to do something fun that would be acceptable to the public."

To Miyakawa, a silly yet edifying song seemed to be in order. He spent a day composing a tune in 4/4/ time — using music software to lay down a big orchestral sound — and writing lyrics with K-to-adult appeal, with a refrain that goes: "Nano, nana, nano/ What a wonderful surprise/That ordinary is extraordinary/When you make it nano size!" Then Liu came over to practice. (The two met in a popular course, "Physics and Music," where he is a longtime grad-student instructor; together they once produced a song for an "American Idol" songwriting competition.) Turning the snappy nano song into a video was challenging — requiring the talents of Patrick Bennett (cinematography and editing) and a troupe of students and alums to build and manipulate puppets for the shoot.

"The Nano Song" is currently the top-rated and most-viewed contest submission (with more than 12,000 views on the ACS site). So its creators are "cautiously optimistic" about their chances for taking the $500 prize — which they hope to drop at Chez Panisse.


For more information, please click here

Cathy Cockrell

Copyright © UC Berkeley

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

To see "behind the scenes" photos of the video's making, or download an MP3, visit The Nano Song website.

The Nano Song video

Related News Press

News and information

Organometallics welcomes new editor-in-chief: Paul Chirik, Ph.D. July 22nd, 2014

The Hiden EQP Plasma Diagnostic with on-board MCA July 22nd, 2014

Iran to Hold 3rd Int'l Forum on Nanotechnology Economy July 22nd, 2014

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014


More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014

"Nanocamera" takes pictures at distances smaller than light's own wavelength: How is it possible to record optically encoded information for distances smaller than the wavelength of light? July 17th, 2014

CIQUS researchers develop an extremely simple procedure to obtain nanosized graphenes July 15th, 2014

New particle-sorting method breaks speed records: Discovery could lead to new ways of detecting cancer cells or purifying contaminated water July 1st, 2014


Haydale Announces Collaboration Agreement with Swansea University’s Welsh Centre for Printing and Coatings (WCPC) July 12th, 2014

STFC takes delivery of the 100th Hitachi Tabletop SEM in the UK July 3rd, 2014

Innovation Management and the Emergence of the Nanobiotechnology Industry July 1st, 2014

Albany NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as Editor-in-Chief of the Prestigious Journal of Electronic Materials July 1st, 2014


Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014

Bruker Awarded Fourth PeakForce Tapping Patent: AFM Mode Uniquely Combines Highest Resolution Imaging and Material Property Mapping July 22nd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE