TOM LEHRER Biography - Famous Scientists


Biography » famous scientists » tom lehrer


Tom Lehrer (1928- ) is a true genius. This might be clear from the                 
fact that he earned a Bachelor's in mathematics from Harvard by the age of 18,     
and a Master's degree by age 19. However, it is even more obvious from his songs.   
To listen to them is to experience genius in an accessible, yet inimitable way.     
Plus he invented Jello shots.                                                       
At the time of the shows, Lehrer was a graduate student in mathematics at           
Harvard. He spent several years in graduate school in two stints (split up by       
time in the army, amongst other things), but he never did complete his             
dissertation. Nevertheless, he has taught undergraduate math courses at the         
Harvard Business School, MIT, Wellesley, and U.C. Santa Cruz.                       
Lehrer has never shied away from controversy, or worried in the least about         
being politically incorrect. His songs were often in the vanguard of social         
morality, although he probably doesn't see himself as a social crusader. His       
song "I Wanna Go Back to Dixie" was released in 1953, mocking southern racism       
before the civil rights movement really took off. "We Will All Go Together When     
We Go" (1960), "MLF Lullaby" (1965), "Who's Next" (1965), and "So Long Mom" (1965) 
dealt with the real dangers of nuclear war and proliferation; these songs           
inspired and amused those working toward strategic arms limitations. "Send the     
Marines" (1965) lampoons foreign policy based on a knee-jerk military response.     
"Pollution" (1965) helped ignite environmentalism.                                 
Many of his songs ("I Hold Your Hand in Mine" is my favorite example) are based     
on a macabre black humor that has been almost absent from the scene since he       
stopped recording.