Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Nuclear Song:

The Saga of a Song

I am pleased and proud to announce the posting of the song, "Neutron Doodle," on YouTube.

"Neutron Doodle" is the brainchild of Kevin McCoy of Areva and his musical group "Tritium." It was the winning song in a contest I organized for the American Nuclear Society (ANS) in 2002, during my term as president of the Society.

Credit for the idea of doing this actually belongs to my husband. He had noted many times that, in 1941, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bonneville Power Administration commissioned Woody Guthrie to write songs in support of building dams that could produce affordable electricity for millions of people. Perhaps the most famous of these songs was "Roll on Columbia."

Documentary about Woody Guthrie and BPA

Why, my husband kept asking me, doesn't the nuclear industry get some famous singer to help promote nuclear power? Why didn't I try to do something. I had the usual array of excuses, and for a long time, that was the end of that.

When I was elected president of ANS, I thought I saw my opportunity. I didn't have any connections with famous singers, but I thought I'd take another Woody Guthrie song, "This Land is Your Land," and tweak it a little bit to say "These Plants are Your Plants." It was a good idea, but I didn't have copyright authorization to use my lyrics and Woody Guthrie's music together, so couldn't perform the song publicly.

On to Plan B. I asked ANS to arrange a contest among the members to write an original song, or to write lyrics for a song whose music was in the public domain. I was pleased and surprised at the amount of talent and interest displayed by the members. I convened a committee, and they selected Kevin's song from among several outstanding submittals. The lyrics of all the songs (including "These Plants are Your Plants") and MP3s of the contest songs are on the ANS website. (This link is available to ANS members only.)

Recently, with the advent of new technology, others have also had the idea that songs and videos can help to spread the message about nuclear power. As a result, I contacted Kevin and he agreed to post his song on YouTube. I encourage everyone to log in to YouTube and watch the video. I think you'll agree he did an outstanding job. I also encourage anyone with the talent and interest to write and post their own songs.

Note added subsequent to publication of this post: In response to a request, I posted the lyrics to Neutron Doodle on November 21, but I later realized that it may be difficult to find the posting without a link, so this postscript provides the link.



  1. Gail:

    Thank you for sharing "Neutron Doodle". I also enjoyed the video about Woody Guthrie and the BPA. That is a fascinating bit of history.

    Rod Adams

  2. Gail:

    One of my readers at Atomic Insights made the following comment when I embedded Neutron Doodle on my blog.

    "Very cleverly done. Upbeat and positive without
    being syrup-y. Would be nice to have the lyrics
    to accompany it as some words are garbled, at
    least to my ear."

    Can you post the lyrics?

  3. Rod,

    Thanks to your reader and glad to oblge. See November 21 posting.