Nope, this isn’t the gentle art of sliding down haystacks. Apparently, it’s a new internet craze where people write scientific papers or essays featuring an acrostic of a song.

In the example quoted in the current issue of New Scientist magazine (and attributed to Sairam Gudiseva), the essay was an acrostic of a famous Rick Astley song from the 1980s. The first line was “Never has a man influenced physics so profoundly as Niels Bohr in the early 1900s.” The second read, “Going back to this time period, little was known about atomic structure…” So far, so scientific. It was only when the New Scientist reader spotted that the next few successive lines began with To, Give, You, Up, Never, Going, To, Let, You, Down that he realised what was going on.

I’m not sure I’d have the patience to construct something that contained all the words of a favourite song and still made sense, but it’s tempting to waste some time having a go…

2 thoughts on “Rickrolling

  1. Oh, how fascinating, Tess! I’m a ‘word’ person so I find acrostics interesting (‘though like you, I don’t know if I’d have the patience to build one). What an innovative way to combine word games with science knowledge.

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