Dec 07 2009

Geek Girls, Go Where I Send Thee: A Christmas Song Parody for Math Nerds

It’s that time of year again — the time for Christmas song parodies!

A Very Scary Solstice So there I was at a holiday party I go to every year, a party at which the singing of Christmas carols is a central feature. And yes, I go to this party voluntarily. I love Christmas, and I’m one of those freaks of nature who actually likes Christmas music. (As long as it’s not drippy Muzak versions being forced into your ears at the supermarket.) And this party takes a very irreverent attitude towards the whole thing, with an entertaining emphasis on the more gruesome and depressing carols (“Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying/Sealed in the stone cold tomb”), and lots of nerdy song parodies. (The Christmas-themed “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the H.P. Lovecraft ones are the best.)

So there we were, lustily singing “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” one of those endless counting songs (here’s a nice version of it on YouTube if you don’t know how it goes), and we were getting silly about the endlessness of it all (“I’m gonna send thee 127 by 127″ ), when somebody — it may even have been me — chimed in with, “I’m gonna send thee pi by pi…”

And a song was born.

Complex_conjugate_picture.svg Or rather, a song is being born. Here’s the current draft. Suggestions for new verses or revisions on these verses are welcomed. Quick ground rules: The numbers have to be actual numbers: I regretfully rejected c (“c for the speed of li-ight”), as it’s a constant that would change depending on the units of measurement being used. They do not, however, have to be real numbers. Hence, i and aleph (yes, it should be “aleph null,” but that doesn’t scan, so suck it up). And I looked it up, and the concept of imaginary numbers seems to have been born in Renaissance Italy. Woo-hoo!

Geek Girls, Go Where I Send Thee

Geek girls, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I’m gonna send thee i by i
i for the ‘maginary
Was born in Renaissance Italy

Geek girls, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I’m gonna send thee phi by phi
Phi for the golden ratio
i for the ‘maginary
Was born in Renaissance Italy

(Repeat, with these additions)

e for the logarithm
Pi for the perfect circle
Google for the hundred zeroes
Aleph for the weird infinities

Any suggestions? Bring it on!


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  1. 1
    Blake Stacey

    That should be “googol”.

  2. 2
    Chad Groft

    Hence, i and aleph (yes, it should be “aleph null,” but that doesn’t scan, so suck it up)

    To be clear: “Aleph” refers to the whole transfinite sequence of infinite cardinalities. “Aleph-null” is just the first step: the cardinality of the counting numbers, and the smallest infinite size. So really your version works better.

  3. 3
    Cori May

    You should perhaps have a daily atheist meme that says ‘Atheists love Christmas too’. I’m an atheist, and I adore everything about Christmas. Even the family outing to a Christmas Eve church service is a joy, because there are Christmas carols.

  4. 4
    Rob C

    This will be a very long song!

  5. 5

    2 to the 43 million, 112 thousand, 6 hundred and 9 … minus 1,
    for mersenne

  6. 6

    I’m at work so I can’t hit up the youtube link, so my understanding of the syllabic requirements might be off. Also it’s more physics-y than math-y, but that’s how I roll:
    NA atoms seen by the eye
    (The A should be a subscript)
    Chemists might tell you Avogadro’s number has units 1/mol, but the way we use it in physics it just means the order-of-magnitude number of atoms in any macroscopic object, and is basically unitless.
    If you’re putting in important mathematical numbers, seems like 1 should go in there somewhere as well.

  7. 7

    0 for adding
    1 for multiplying
    2 for the primes
    3 for the world we live in
    4 for the mapmakers
    5 for platonic solids
    6 for perfection
    7 for non-constructibility
    8 for cubic fibonacci
    9 for adding cubes
    10 for our fingers


  8. 8

    6.02 x 10^23 for the mole!

  9. 9
    douglas chapple

    Geek girls, go where I send thee
    How shall I send thee?
    I’m gonna send thee square by square
    exponentially until you get there

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