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Songwriter-in-Residence Program

NIMBioS is no longer accepting applications for the Songwriter-in-Residence Program.

Guitar photo.

Objective: From 2010-2012, the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, in conjunction with the Univ. of Tennessee's James R. Cox Endowment Fund, sponsored a Songwriter-in-Residence Program to encourage the creation and production of songs involving ideas of modern biology and the lives of scientists who pursue research in biology. The Songwriter-in-Residence Program supported a four-week long residency of singer-songwriters at NIMBioS; a total of five songwriters participated in the program as residents. Those selected for the program were required to be on-site at the NIMBioS' offices a minimum of three days per week during the month-long residency. While at NIMBioS, the Songwriter-in-Residence interacted with resident and visiting scientists at NIMBioS and attended workshops, tutorials and other NIMBioS events. By the end of the residency, each songwriter wrote, composed and produced several songs. Copyrights to the songs are shared among the creator, any scientist(s) involved in the songwriting process, and the Univ. of Tennessee. Songwriters-in-Residence were paid a stipend of $3,000 for the month-long residency. Songwriters-in-Residence were chosen based on their ability and experience to compose, produce, and perform live songs; their interest in making connections in music between general audiences and science; and their experience touring.

Hear the song that inspired the program.

Flyer photo.
Kuhn & Popper Knee-jerk Philosophy of Science Blues

Click here for a printable flyer describing the Songwriter-in-Residence Program.
Click here to read more about the 2009 BioSongs project, which inspired the Songwriter-in-Residence Program.
To read about the NIMBioS evaluation of the program and a survey of participants, click here.

Having songwriters at NIMBioS was a stimulating and thought-provoking experience for me. It was tremendously beneficial to think about science from the perspective of how to communicate with the public, using songs or otherwise. I found myself reflecting on the changing role of science through history and of public perceptions of science, how public perceptions affect policy with respect to science, and how science is integrated into a person's world view. It made me more aware of how the increasingly specialized vocabulary and methods of science hamper public understanding, and how the same dynamic hampers collaboration between mathematicians and biologists. --scientist at NIMBioS

(T)he songwriter didn't have a science background, so trying to communicate scientific ideas to him in a way that that he could draw upon for his writing was a good exercise in communicating science to the general public. — scientist at NIMBioS


B. Brinkman photo. Baba Brinkman
Songwriter-in-Residence: April-May 2012
NIMBioS Announces New Songwriter-in-Residence: Baba Brinkman
Lessons from Darwin: Hip-Hop Version
Literary Rap: NIMBioS Songwriter Raps for English Majors
Baba Brinkman: NIMBioS Songwriter-in-Residence, NIMBioS video interview
NIMBioS Songwriter Spins Science Tunes on New EP

Welcome to NIMBioS

Rising Up   Lyrics

Mad Scientist (Talkin' Nerdy)   Lyrics

Kay Stanton photo. Kay Stanton
Songwriter-in-Residence: May 2011
NIMBioS Welcomes Songwriter Who Aspires to be 'Jane Goodall of Music'
Studio Sessions: NIMBioS Songwriter on Studio 865

Kay Stanton photo. Click here to watch Kay perform her song Patterns on 11 O'Clock Rock!

Patterns   Lyrics

Rubber Band Land   Lyrics

Timothy Sellers photo. Timothy Sellers
Songwriter-in-Residence: April 2011
Open to Inspiration
NIMBioS welcomes Timothy Sellers
NIMBioS video interview
Coffee and Pi Anyone?

Timothy Sellers photo. Click here to watch Timothy perform at the WDVX Blue Plate Special (
Timothy Sellers photo. Click here to watch Timothy perform his song Coffee and Pi.

Dr. Edmund Schulman and the Bristlecone Pine   Lyrics

Coffee and Pi   Lyrics

Jay Clark photo. Jay Clark
Songwriter-in-Residence: January 2011
Americana Musician Jay Clark Headlines January
Residency Draws to a Close With Mini-Concert

Jay Clark photo. Click here to view an interview with Jay and his performance of his song Sexual Selection.
Hemlock photo. Click here to view Jay performing his song The Day the Last Hemlock Died.

Sexual Selection   Lyrics

The Day the Last Hemlock Died   Lyrics

RB Morris photo. RB Morris
Songwriter-in-Residence: November 2010
The Many Voices of Science
Studio Sessions
NIMBioS BioBalladeer Opens the Show
RB Morris First Songwriter-in-Residence

RB Morris performs his songs Science for the People, NIMBioS, and Life:

RB Morris photo. Click here to watch the video for Science for the People.

Science for the People   Lyrics

NIMBioS   Lyrics

Life   Lyrics

K. Agee photo. Kent Agee
Nashville singer-songwriter Kent Agee has written a song, Pair Bonding, based on the NIMBioS' "Family Values" study.

Pair Bonding   Lyrics

Media Coverage

Scientists And Musicians Compare Notes, National Public Radio, May 17, 2011
Threats & Promises, Flagpole Magazine, May 11, 2011
WUOT News Feature, April 1, 2011
NIMBioS Combines Math and Biology With Music, Tennessee Today, March 2, 2011
Local Artist Entertains Worldwide Audiences, Daily Beacon, February 25, 2011
Calling All Bio-Balladeers, Science, October 15, 2010
R.B. Morris: Man of Science, Metro Pulse, November 17, 2010

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Contact NIMBioS

From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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