March – Dance Party

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Every two years I attend a conference at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.   The lab is sort of like heaven for people like me (nerds).  It’s a place where scientists are the rock stars and half the people at the bar have won Nobel prizes.  It’s a place where you’re not judged by your looks and social graces, but by your research and your publications.  I love it.  It’s all science all the time.

Last month I was there to soak up some knowledge and present a new method for determining 3-D chromosome structures.  Cool stuff!  (If you’re interested, we used this method to look at genes that escape X chromosome inactivation.)


It’s not every lobby that has a big DNA molecule AND a ukulele on display.

While I love this trip, it has one very awkward feature.  On the last night they transform the conference room into a discotheque.  Usually they get a really bad band and everyone lines the walls, looking down at their shoes, waiting for the whole thing to be over.  It’s a little bit like that nightmare we all have about being 13 years old all over again.  Except this time it’s for real.  I think they do this to remind us of the real world.

This month’s song is dedicated to that dance.  Science and music are both a lot like that conference and the dance party.  There are great times and then there are those uncomfortable moments.  However, on the bright side, these awkward moments always make great stories to tell (and songs to sing) back home!


Here’s an example of “day-glo gene expressions” from an experiment I did years ago. The blue shows the nuclei inside of 10 cells, and the red and green dots show genes that are being transcribed.

If you’d like to try to play or sing along with this song at home (and I would strongly encourage you to do so), here’s the chart!

And if you’re not already getting email updates about my songs each month, join the fun!

My album, Postcards From Home is out!!!  Get your copy on iTunes, or order a limited edition CD!

14 thoughts on “March – Dance Party

  1. Rachel Knox says:

    Just the right amount of disco!

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks! It’s for a dance party oooh esss ahhh.

  2. Tim Kelley says:

    Keep composing. It’s getting better all of the time. I guess someone else already wrote music about that. Your singing, too. Enjoyed it. I actually listened to it twice and it’s only 7:30 am here.

    1. Josh says:

      That’s quite a way to start a day! Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Fletcher McNeill says:

    Good upbeat dance to Spring song also. As I was listening, one of my students came in and loved the tune. New fans 🙂 Yes.

    1. Josh says:

      Hooray! Thanks so much for the kind words and getting me some new fans! That’s great.

  4. John Gillespie says:

    I used to be allergic to whistling, and I’m so glad I got over that before I heard this truly amazing tune. What’s that fluttery percussion thingy around 1:50? You always amaze me, Josh!

    1. Josh says:

      I’m so glad you like the song and the whistling! Great!
      The fluttery percussion is me tapping chopsticks on the table. It’s a cool, easy, and super cheap instrument!

  5. I think that DNA sculpture is based on the set of “Solid Gold” (or vice versa):
    I love how it fits with the disco theme!

    1. Josh says:

      I love this!!! I hadn’t thought of that before. Thanks so much for pointing it out!

  6. hank says:

    Poster sessions bring out the animal in scientists.

  7. Aline says:

    We might have to have a high kick competition in June. Loved it J!

    1. Josh says:

      There’s no way I can compete with Geoff!

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