Songs of Earth and Space

Presented by
Jon Underwood Bell, PhD, Hallstrom Planetarium and Indiana River State College (IN)

Songs are an effective, powerful tool for teaching facts and concepts in most any field of knowledge. As a college instructor, I have come up with some handy mnemonic songs for remembering the spectral classes of stars, or the names and accomplishments of famous astronomers. As a planetarium director, I use songs that are geared for all ages and levels of understanding, like, "There are Plenty of Stars in the Sky," or, "Ode to Planet #9." Recently I have been branching out into other sciences, with, "Mycologenia Dreaming," "Fungi Isn't Fun," "DNA", "Jocelyn Found a Radio Star," and "The Entymologist's Farewell." Don't get me wrong, I'm not much of a tune-maker. But I can make up new song lyrics on most any topic, and I try to use tunes that are well-known and sing-able, and ideally, in the public domain. The one song I've published so far on YouTube is "Universe Calling!" ( In this presentation, I'll introduce some of my work, and provide guidelines for how to write your own STEM-related songs.