Freitag, 20. Oktober 2006


Aus dem Wikipedia-Eintrag zu Katie Melua's Lied Nine Million Bicycles:

"On September 30, 2005, an article appeared in The Guardian newspaper in which physicist Simon Singh criticised the song's lyrics. Singh said that with the song Melua 'demonstrates a deep ignorance of cosmology and no understanding of the scientific method', and objected to its second verse, where the song's protagonist '[contrasts] such guesswork with her own confidence in her blossoming long-term love':

We are 12 billion light-years from the edge,
That's a guess — no-one can ever say it's true,
But I know that I will always be with you

Singh interpreted the first lyric as a statement that the observable universe was twelve billion years old, which he said was incorrect; according to 'the very latest data', the universe was actually 13.7 billion years old. He added, 'the next line in the song is unforgivable. To say that the age of the universe is 'a guess' is an insult to a century of astronomical progress. The age of the universe is not just 'a guess', but rather it is a carefully measured number that is now known to a high degree of accuracy'. He wrote replacement lyrics which he believed would, if used, remedy his concerns:

We are 13.7 billion light-years from the edge of the observable universe,
that's a good estimate with well-defined error bars,
Scientists say it's true, but acknowledge that it may be refined,
and with the available information, I predict that I will always be with you

Singh's statements received moderate coverage in the media, and led Batt to submit a response to The Guardian in which he defended his right to poetic license. Melua agreed to re-record the song's second verse with Singh's proposed lyrics, though she said she encountered difficulty fitting in all of the syllables. The revised version, which omitted the line 'Scientists say it's true, but acknowledge that it may be refined', premiered on the radio show The Today Programme on October 15. Melua said that she felt embarrassed by the error in the song, particularly given that she had been a member of her school's astronomy club. Singh himself later said he intended his article to be 'to some extent ... tongue-in-cheek', but that he also wanted to defend principles in cosmology 'that are on much firmer ground'. He added that he believed his response to the song's lyrics had helped introduce cosmology to a wider audience, and said that 'the writing of the original article was probably the most productive hour of my career'."

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