De bètacanon: book, cartoons and music

The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published De bètacanon, a canon of fifty scientific topics that every person in the Netherlands should know. In 2008, the fifty articles were released in a book and presented by Robert Dijkgraaf, president of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences, to Ronald Plasterk, the Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences. Since illustrations are more appropriate to scientists, rather than a thick book, Reid, Geleijnse en Van Tol made a cartoon adaptation in De bètacanon van Fokke & Sukke.

Book or cartoon, a 'canon' has to be sung. On the CD De bètacanon in polyfonie, the fifty scientific topics are sung in a musical canon in four voices, including specific love songs for DNA, enzymes, prime numbers, entropy and Eureka. The result is a canon as a love song to science.

The CD contains an illustration by by Robbert Dijkgraaf, president of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences, an unexpected reading by Frits van Oostrom, founder of the Canon of the Dutch History and cartoons by Jean-Marc van Tol, author of Fokke & Sukke.

Click here for the official bètacanon website.


CD recording. Vocal quartet Quatre Bouches in adjusted composition:
Sabine Wüthrich (soprano), Petra Ehrismann (alto), Michel Poels (bariton) and Job Boswinkel (bass, guest singer).
Featuring Govert Valkenburg and Bas Ponsioen (PhD students, tenor), Gerben Uilenbroek and Ruben Naeff (piano), conducted by Wouter Padberg.

Please order the CD if you like the stream (great present for science and music lover!).

Scientific Canon Set to Music

Volkskrant TV on the musical bètacanon (English subtitles)
(High resolution video without subtitles available here)

Additional info

Concise presentation about the musical ideas in the bètacanon (in Dutch).