Science Songwriter OF THE FUTURE! 2012 – wrap-up

In case you’ve not been following the whole SSOTF story –  this is the precis…

It all started with winning the Quantum Zone in I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here in March – I’d rashly promised to use the £500 winnings to run a science songwriting competition for young people. As soon as I won the rush of excitement gave way to the realisation that I had no idea how I was going to do it.

Luckily, GeekPop progenitor Hayley Birch did – and even gave us the first prize: tickets for the winners and a chum/guardian to attend Einstein’s Garden at the Green Man festival and help me run a science songwriting workshop. House of Strange Studios volunteered a day of studio time for the winners too. What prizes! Next we needed judges.

And what judges! Just by asking very nicely, lots of very brilliant and lovely people agreed to join in! Isy Suttie, a household name thanks to Peep Show, but a very talented musical comedian; Tom Robinson, a punk/new wave legend, Sony award winner and tireless champion of unheard music through his 6Music shows; Helen Keen, sciencey star of Radio 4 and the Edinburgh Fringe; MJ HIbbett, whose concept album Dinosaur Planet has taken nerd rock by storm; and Tom Whyntie, real-life CERN scientist and musician. For the Social Physics category we spread the judging duties between me, Hayley and ex-physicist chanteuse Helen Arney.

The entries were fantastic; despite some pretty strict rules (entrants had to be 18 or under; songs had to be original in lyric AND melody; songs had to be about science) we got a pretty long shortlist which our judges whittled down to four winners.

Beautiful medals designed by Tuck Shop (aka Lynn Allingham)

The LHC Song stood out as a concise and charming ditty to CERN, which had recently discovered The Higgs Boson; Lab 13 reminded how good science is; and Alannah Cowley’s Zero Air Resistance made science romantic again. Last but not least, Ben Lambert and Furat Aziz scooped the Social Physics prize with Infinity.


The winners joined us at Green Man, helping us write Lonely Space Pony, Go Fast! and Titanium Dioxide(among others) with a very talented group of young people. The workshop ran over three days of the festival, culminating on the final day with a performance of Lonely Space Pony by our young songwriters backed by science songwriter Johnny Berlinner and yours truly –  swiftly followed by a live performance of The LHC Song. Barely a week after Tom Robinson played it on his 6Music show!

Those winners who didn’t win Gold did win iTunes vouchers and beautiful one-off medals designed by Tuck Shop.

Well, we haven’t quite spent all of our money. So watch out for another project from the SSOTF time in THE FUTURE! Until then, big thanks to Hayley, Ellen Dowell at Einstein’s Garden, Ash at House of Strange, Lynn at Tuck Shop and all of our judges and entrants!

If you want to find out more about this year’s competition, there’s plenty more at and and


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