Who would have thought the periodic table of elements could inspire a songwriter to new heights. Lehrer was a singer, songwriter, humorist, and professor of mathematics at Harvard University. He wrote the classic “The Elements” in 1959, setting the names of all then-known elements to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Major General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance.
Below, actor Daniel Radcliffe performs his party trick of singing Tom Lehrer’s classic song “The Elements” on BBC’s The Graham Norton Show.
Very funny, but there’s nothing like the original. Although YouTube doesn’t supply a video of Lehrer performning, they do offer this clever animation set to one of Lehrer’s live performances.