Instant Elements: Tom Lehrer's "Elements Song," with Google Instant (video)

Internet video memegenius Joe Sabia does it again: Tom Lehrer's paean to the periodic table, interpreted through Google Instant, which launched earlier today.

Watch: Video Link.

You may recall Joe as the guy behind Pulp Wave Fiction, a previous video riff on a Google product.


  1. Cool demo, for sure.

    That Internet connection is Waaay better than mine. Google instant or not, I’m impressed at how fast the graphics come down. (Is this the kind of speed the rest of you are seeing? curse you comcast!…)

  2. Re: comments on speed: were I to try this, I think I’d record it while playing the song back at, say, 1/4 speed. Then run video at 4x and dub the song over at regular speed.

  3. Back in the day, in my >500-student intro chem lecture hall (and I expect many others) they had a light-up periodic table, with a separate switch for each element. One of the many acts the professor had was to play the elements song while flipping each appropriate switch in real time. Using GI in real time would take some practice, but should be possible. Of course, one could always finger-synch using this video.

  4. Entertaining idea, well implemented.
    It’s interesting to see how bad Instant is at predicting some of them though, but the thing moves at such a pace it’s hard not to be impressed. And some of the gags are quite good too.

  5. I went to UC Santa Cruz back in ’86 and ’87 and I was lucky enough to get the lead in a musical. The guy who was helping with the music was hilarious, and we had a great time screwing around on the piano, making up silly songs and cracking ourselves up.

    When I came home that Summer, I mentioned to my dad that the piano guy’s name was Tom Lehrer, and my dad nearly had a heart attack. He pulled out a couple of Tom Lehrer albums, and there he was on the cover. I even remembered his songs from Electric Company when I was a kid. I just hadn’t made the connection because I hadn’t ever heard the name.

    Part of me wished I could go back in time and get an autograph or something, but I think Mr. Lehrer enjoyed the anonymity and the freedom to just be normal…well, as normal as he could be. And it’s great to hear his songs now knowing that he’s genuinely a nice guy.

  6. what an amazing product demo video. i mean not only is it entertaining but it really shows off the products core strength. SPEED!

    nice work goog and joe!

  7. At 1:04, the search box misspells sulfur as “sulfer”, but the search results are all for the correct spelling, without even a “Did you mean…?” Is that a new feature of Google Instant, or an artifact of the video editing?

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