Organic chemistry for the YouTube generation

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Spoof music videos offer the chance for ageing chemistry geeks such as myself to relive both their chemical and musical past. This video in particular was the cause of much hilarity within the Nature Chemistry team. This video is great – although one of the early lyrics ‘in the lab, working alone’ is a cause for concern – so let’s hope that it is there for artistic reasons rather than anything else. But can such videos serve any useful purpose?

Well, this would be a fairly boring blog post if the answer was “No”, so I was delighted this weekend to hear from Neil Garg at UCLA about a small video project set as part of the sophomore organic chemistry course. For a small extra credit, Garg asked his class to make music videos highlighting aspects of the course.

No less than 140 out of 240 enrolled students took part and made a total of 61 videos – I’ll be interested to hear from Neil when the exam results are in! Although the videos are worth very little in the final score, it’s hard to believe that the students failed to learn something useful in the way of organic chemistry from making them.


Stephen Davey (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)

Stephen Davey

Chief Editor, Nature Reviews Chemistry, Springer Nature

Stephen holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Sheffield where he conducted research on asymmetric nucleophilic catalysis. He then moved to Groningen, Netherlands for postdoctoral research on the synthesis and applications of light-driven molecular motors. He has been a chemistry editor for 12 years. He began his editorial career with the Royal Society of Chemistry (working on the journals Lab on a Chip and the Journal of Environmental Monitoring). In 2008 he joined the launch team of Nature Chemistry and later that year moved to Boston, USA where he stayed until the end of 2015. Shortly after returning to London he moved jobs to become Chief Editor for Nature Reviews Chemistry, which launched in 2017.