Words by Tom Lehrer

copyright (c) 1951
Tune: "Personality" by James Van Heusen
Note: This is not the tune "Cause You've got Personality", but rather is a song from the movie "Road To Utopia" (1946), sung by Dorothy Lamour.
In a long-running series of TV ads for Wesson cooking oil (in the 70s and 80s, I think), this tune was sung by Florence Henderson with altered words ("Wessonality" instead of "Personality").

Explanation of the physics in this song

The tune for this song is still under copyright, so the recording cannot be posted. However, you can get a rough idea of how it goes by starting this video of the original song, and following along below.

Vocals and guitar by Robert H. Welker

Introductory Dialog: (spoken by the "English major ")
But I think this course underemphasizes the importance of relativity, and I would like you to hear a few words in its behalf.


Einstein was the first who stated,
He was the first who dared:
Mass and energy are related,
By E = mc2.

When Isaac Newton wrote The Laws that we all quote,
It's now extremely apparent that he
Neglected to consider -- Relativity.

What focused our attention on the fourth dimension?
We'd been doing so well with just three:
'Twas Mr. Einstein's brainchild -- Relativity.

Now who would think, and who'd forecast,
That bodies shrink, when they go fast.
It makes old Isaac's theory
Look weary.

So then if you are near when atom bombs appear,
And you're reduced to a pile of debris,
You'll know it's largely due to -- Relativity.
Yes, you can place the blame on -- Relativity.

These lyrics were published in Physics Today, July 2005, p. 59.

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Background image: covers from some of Tom Lehrer's albums