Now *that's* a "girls in science" video: "The Longest Time," by the Barber Lab Quartet

[Video Link] Miles O'Brien points me to this cute musical video written and performed by young female scientists at the Barber Lab. The video was discussed on a recent email thread of scientists debating the (lack of) merit of this EU PSA.

Commenters: before you say anything mean about the fact that their homemade Billy Joel cover ditty is a little off-key here and there, or the rhymes a little dorky... that's the point. These women are actual researchers, who care passionately about the subject of their research, and they're sharing that in an authentic way with the world.

Unlike this shit.

From the video intro:

The Coral Triangle is one of the most threatened, yet understudied, ecosystems in the world. We are working to understand the processes creating and maintaining biological diversity in this region, while building the capacity of researchers and students to contribute to local conservation efforts. Terima kasih Pak Ngurah Mahardika dan Indonesia untuk menyambut kami! For more information please visit, or contact us at


  1. Me too.  I have a daughter with a PhD in Applied Science from Cornell, now a Professor of EE at Louisville.  Loved it (and emailed the link to her).

  2. You now, I usually dislike the geeks-made-a-music-video thing, and I also hate this song,  but I love this. This has just made my horrible day turn nice.  Thanks for this.

    1.  Who knows how much field work will go wrong?
      Maybe I’ll be sampling all year long.
      I’ll take my chances to obtain genetic samples
      And then do lab work for the longest time.

      I think this is where I became smitten.

  3. So simply adorable, and valuable!  I’m going to share this with my daughter (12) who is going to be famous for SOMETHING, why not Science?? (and music)

  4. The reason this video works so well is because it is not a “women in science” video. It talks about the science and why you should care. And it happens to have women singing in it. There are no traditional “women in science” type recruitment or empowerment pitches in this video.

    Despite all of this, a video of women singing passionately about science is probably a far more effective tool to get women involved in science than videos that ignore the science but say why women are capable of working in science. People work in science because it interests them, not because they want to fill some demographic gap.

    1. Exactly. You don’t need people who are passionate about the idea of working in science, you need people who are passionate about science.

    2. That’s what differentiates it from the EU promo disaster. That video’s message was We’re girly girls and, um, science, and WE’RE GIRLY GIRLS! It could have been an ad for Barbie dolls or a phone sex line.

  5. Dorky lyrics?  Out of tune?  Have our standard really risen so high that if you’re not in the top .01% you’re not of interest?

    I thought the lyrics were quite clever, rhyming (for the most part) quite nicely.  And if the singing wasn’t professional quality, it beats out my friends poisoning pigeons in the park (the song, that is).

  6. So now Library science and marine biology have gotten the business, how many other disciplines have been covered? I’d love to see an album of this sort of theng. And then maybe a touring musical.

  7. This trend of creating music videos is taking valuable research time out of the hands of these scientists.

    Can’t we imagine a future where science can be funded without having to put on a song and dance for the ignorant masses?

    Although this video was awesome, so disregard my previous snark :)

    1. I appreciate your “disregard” comment, but I’d like to reply to the snark anyway.  Don’t forget that some scientists are in it exactly for this reason- to educate the “ignorant masses.”  So although I do love science for the sake of science, I consider the making of videos such as this to be important, and as valuable to the field as our research.

      1. I grew up watching Bill Nye, the Science Guy, so I definitly appreciate the educational aspects of science, especially when it is presented in an engaging way.

        My previous comment was meant to be a joke.  I love learning about science in all its forms.  I appologize if my comment caused offence.

  8. This guy is smitten.  Where do I sign up?  I’m amazed that four random lab workers would all have such nice singing voices.

  9. I like how the EU video focuses and hard sciences and the author here uses a soft sciences example of what an outreach program should be doing, without really recognizing the difference between the two.

    Also, I like how any attempt at cultural understanding is absent.  They’re wrong by our standards, which makes them wrong, period.  Isn’t Norway in the EU?  Wait, isn’t their government dominated by females?  Angela Merkel, anyone?  Doesn’t the system that produced that deserve a little understanding?  Or is the arbiter here just US academics?

  10. This is worth accepting third party cookies.
    heh. I did the same thing when I heard the original version. I cried. ( the good kind).  You had me at “I just want to discover things”. You give me hope.

  11. Thanks to Xeni for posting this and thanks to everyone for the comments!  We love that so many people are watching our video now.

  12. Oh, how I hate Marine Biologists. First they get to play with all the amazing equipment and hang out on boats and stuff, and now they’re even popstars.

    Can someone… ANYONE… please make computer science a little more glamorous? Please…? :)

  13. This was AWESOME. And I bet it didn’t cost 102.000 € to make. :D

    “Commenters: before you say anything mean about the fact that their homemade Billy Joel cover ditty is a little off-key here and there, or the rhymes a little dorky… that’s the point.”

    Man, what the hell are you talking about? They sound way better than the EU-clip.

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