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Dad rockers riff on graphene

By Hamish Johnston

I know there’s nothing sadder than a middle-aged man rocking out with an electric guitar – especially if he’s singing about condensed-matter physics.

I tried to resist, but I was strangely compelled to watch this reworking of that classic-rock anthem “Cocaine” by a bunch of physicists at Georgia Tech in honour of this year’s physics Nobel.

Fortunately the viewer is spared the Jeremy Clarkson jeans and other dad-fashion faux pas that the band members are no doubt making; instead the tune plays over what looks like a selection of Andre Geim’s PowerPoint slides.

Highlights include the verses:

“If you got bad gates and need quantum states…graphene”


“Don’t forget Dirac, straight bands are a fact…graphene”

and the chorus:

“She goes fast, she goes fast…graphene”

Actually, it’s not a bad version with some smoking riffs by Mike Duffee on guitar and a smoky vocal by engineering professor Paul Neitzel.

Makes me think I should dust off my axe, slip into a pair of M&S ComfortFit jeans, and pen a little ditty. Or maybe an entire concept album called “Tales from Topological Insulators”.

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  1. Andrew Zangwill

    Actually, only one image comes from Geim. The rest come from PowerPoint talks given by myself (the lyricist) and my Georgia Tech colleagues from our own work on epitaxial graphene.

  2. Doug Kellis

    One of my professors played it for us today in class. Great homage to the humble carbon atom.


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