Music to do chemistry by...

Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Matthew Tucknott on Sep 15, 2011 10:43 am

Here at Kingston University, we enjoy a little bit of music whilst we slave away over a hot (or very cold) reaction. Whilst my personal musical preferences lay in the "heavy metal" genre (metallica and killswitch engage FTW!), I much prefer to listen to more "popular" music. I say popular, because its mostly pop music from the 80's (america had regenaughts, we have thatchernaughts! Go-getting, of course). I like a little spandau ballet, backed up by some linoel richie (all night long...all night, all night...etc), and others enjoy a bit of Michael Jackson, some human league and so on.

What, if anything at all, do you like to listen to in an attempt to retain high, or even moderate, morale during your lab work?


Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Peter Brawn on Sep 15, 2011 10:53 am

Well Matt i'm glad you asked. As i was born during the era of milk snatcher thatcher (who ironically is one of the chemists who help invent my favorite Mr whippy iced creams). I like to relive this time by strutting my stuff around the lab to works by the pet shop boys especially "it's a sin" and the many works of erasure. How ever my all time fav is the the power of love by one Mr Huey Lewis and the news, i'm sure you'll agree its a real (lab) floor filler.

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 11:02 am

Back in the day, it was Journey that got us through. Sadly, the opportunity to continue this tradition has been utterly destroyed thanks to the kind people of Glee.

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Matthew Tucknott on Sep 15, 2011 2:50 pm

It has come to my attention I have been humming, whistling or outrightly singing "don't stop Beleiving" all afternoon since reading your post Adam...

...thanks for that crying laugh

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 3:57 pm

When I was writing up my Masters dissertation and I had masses of powder X-ray diffraction data to analyse; I found Yeasayers second album blaring away in my headphones was the perfect accompaniment to the heartache caused by an unsolvable GSAS calculation.

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 6:24 pm

Power ballads are the way forward, right?  Alternatively, I love a bit of Tinie in the lab...

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Alan Crooks on Sep 15, 2011 9:54 pm

This convo reminds me of this (iodine clock reaction set to Rossini's William Tell Overture :-D)

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Matthew Tucknott on Sep 16, 2011 11:19 am

Nessa; power ballads on a friday seems like a PLAN. I have a column to do, so recomend me something. Else I'm going whitesnake (the steve vai years)

Alan - In my A-level studies we had to do something similar, except our iodine reactions were performed in time to an Abba random pick? Waterloo!


Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Jessica Wynn on Sep 16, 2011 11:58 am

For my summer work placement I was in a lab on my own so I got to choose the music :) I had my ipod on shuffle which meant a weird and eclectic mix ranging from Glee to Muse and Radiohead. Although my absolute favourite motivational song to play in the lab is "Scientist" by the Dandy Warhols!

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Matthew Tucknott on Sep 19, 2011 6:42 pm

a WHOLE lab to yourself? Sometimes I'd like that, I could be all proper OCD and keep it organised perfectly, maybe get a snap-on tool chest like mechanics use, keep all my glassware in it. But thats mixing two worlds.

Today, my friend Jason put on All Killer, No Filler by Sum 41. We were thrown back to a time when we were teeny bopping teens, still unsure of full on heavy metal. It was AWESOME.

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Judith de Mel on Mar 23, 2013 6:38 am

Hi Matthew,

I think many chemistry undergrads love Heavy metal and Rock.
But in our lab, we have all agreed to listen to very light music and I think it helps us to concentrate on work rather than get carried away with the music. smiley

If I had the lab all to myself my choice of music is definitely The Beatles. laugh


Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Giuliamonica Leonardi on Mar 25, 2013 11:05 am

Hi everyone,

I recently did my first intership in an Analytical Chemistry lab which appeared to be a serious and rigid environement. After the presentations we started do some analysis and a few minutes later, pop music ran all over the room. This was a pleasant surprise..a perfect enjoyable workplace!
People usually believe that chemists are boring..they are wrong: we are and we have FUN even in our workplace!!!!!  

I wish you all a very nice day laugh


Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Robert Slinn on Mar 25, 2013 11:36 am

I have copied this from but totally agree from my own experience.

I'm not sure about Classical music but music which has a rhythmic beat does affect the brain. Basically, this is any music that you can tap your foot to.

The brain responds to the beat of the music and the effect can be described as 'like waking your brain up'. It is the frequency of the beat that has the effect. This is why lots of people work better and have improved concentration when studying if there is music playing in the background as opposed to complete silence. If you have ever revised for exams with the radio playing in the background you will know how much easier it can seem to get on with it.

The army also march to music. There is reason why the army are known to sing marching songs - it is the regular beat that keeps them in step.

It doesn't have to be any particular music either as long as it has a regular beat it works. I think Elvis Presley's music is particularly good because of the regular beat.

While Classical music has it's place, it does not have the same effect on the brain as popular and other more modern forms of music. It is the same reason why people enjoy dancing to music - it makes you feel energised and has the power to lift your mood. The frequency of the beat switches on a part of the brain that makes you feel good.


Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Colin Cook on Mar 26, 2013 5:13 pm

Although I really love music and it is one of the most important things in my life, I don't think it can be mixed with any work that is mentally demanding. Maybe in the days when I had to prepare sample materials for a customer, I did find my MP3 player took away the boredom, but when trying to write a report, I needed as much silence as was possible in a factory laboratory, and had to complain sometimes if their music got too loud. I think that personal music players are okay for some people as long as they present no safety hazard (such as audibility of fire alarms), but I would have to object to piped music in the workplace as being an interference with the environment.

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Donn Swehykol on Dec 7, 2021 9:51 am

I also hate music and often listen to it with headphones and when I lost one of them I had a panic. But they explained to me that you can lose one or both AirPods, there is only one way to find them - to use the tips of the stolen headphone tracking guide . With this feature, you can locate the headphones on the map, play a beep on them, or get directions to the point where the loss is.

Re: Music to do chemistry by...

Posted by Richard White on Feb 4, 2022 1:19 pm

Oh, I see that people listen to such different music while studying or doing tasks. Usually, when I need to learn something, I do it without music, because it distracts me. But when I do something not that important, then I like listening to pop or RnB

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