Tom Lehrer adds newly discovered elements to his song The Elements

I’ve been developing a chemistry game for learning The Periodic Table. This game features the songĀ The Elements by Tom Lehrer.

I’ve corresponded with Tom a few times via email to seek his permission to use his song / recording in the game. Surprisingly though, the discussion led to something quite unexpected. Whilst discussing the elements discovered since he wrote his song I proposed a specific arrangement for including them into the song.

Tom said that for many decades he has been uninterested in adding the elements, and that all proposals to date “do not scan or rhyme”. Apparently, mine didn’t either, but my version “looks so close to satisfactory” that he couldn’t resist using it as the basis to completing the song himself.

Here is a screenshot of an email from Mr Lehrer. I have no idea why he typed it out and then scanned it.

Email from Tom Lehrer


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