Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Trostpreis (I’ve been singing again)

I promised my daughters I would write a song in German, so here we go:


“Trostpreis” means “consolation prize”. This song was inspired by the kids’ announcement that we have a new rule for pachisi: Adults always lose. I think this conveys a deep truthiness about life in general.

 After I complained the last time that the most frequent question I get about my music videos is “where do you find the time?” (answer: I don’t), I now keep getting the question “Do you sing yourself?” The answer to this one is, yes, I sing myself. Who else do you think would sing for me?

(soundcloud version here)


  1. "Adults always lose. I think this conveys a deep truthiness about life in general."

    The problem with youth is that it is wasted on the young.

  2. Thank You!
    You have proven once again that women in science are real women with lives full and well rounded.
    I enjoyed you song.

  3. "pachisi"
    ... Pachisi and Chaupur rules (Parcheesi, Sorry!, and Ludo)

    "Who else do you think would sing for me?" Physics.

    Diamond is thermodynamically unstable versus graphite. It persists to 1000° C in air and 1500° C under hydrogen, but instantly forms molybdenum carbide from the metal at room temperature. Thermodynamics proposes, kinetics disposes. All the fun is in the footnotes. First observe, then model.

  4. Wow: this is really awesome! And I like it! Wanna hear it on the mainstream radio! [For the hip kids: radio is kinda youtube without video or spotify and it's NOT on demand - it's just goin' and on and on... - ask your granny!]

  5. I liked the shadows of the girls dancing, I could imagine they had a lot of fun doing that with you.

  6. I don't like about 99% of all videos that I've seen so I don't watch many. For some reason this one looked like it was worth a click, so I clicked it. It was good! Well-done and pleasant and humorous (even though I don't know German).

  7. Haha, yes, I would like to hear it on the radio too :)

  8. Louis,

    The shadow game was an accident. I just meant to take some footage of the background to put in place of the greenscreen. Then the girls walked into the picture and I thought that looks really nice! So I also climbed on the wall. We all had some fun with that :)

  9. Hi Sabine,

    For sure, you do have a nice singing voice.


  10. Very cute video, really enjoyed it.

  11. Hi Bee,

    I liked the tune and the harmonic highlights, felt as though it could make its way in the radio ecosystem. I heard the possibility of fuller orchestration, a resonate, countervailing cello line.
    Still, being a fan of ballads and laments, I would have liked being able to understand the lyrics. Don't imagine I could Google them yet.

  12. In fact, Google Translate does not make hash of the lyrics. The tune is catchy, in a rather persistent way. The shadow play of the twins is pretty nifty in the video

  13. Better than 90% of what's streaming today. :-)

  14. I can't understand your German. Must be the accent.

  15. LOVE your song! Beautifully written, performed, and produced. Thank you, Sabine. I'm a longtime writer from New York now living in Maine. German is my first language, I've read physics as a layperson my whole life (I was there in ’82, for example, when Alain Aspect announced his results for Bell's Inequality), and I've been enjoying your writing a great deal recently (including your excellent book). Have just discovered your blog. Keep up the good work! — George in Harpswell

  16. I always enjoy your videos, they are cryptic and funny, so thank you also for this one, dr.Hossenfelder.

    Being Flemish, I had some German at high school ages ago, and, yes, our languages are phonetically close but grammatically very different. So I miss quite a bit of the lyrics of your song. I believe I understand enough to relate this to developments in your professional life. And I know you agree with Feynman : you don't care much for what people say. But still : having a doctorate, having published and still be publishing, being happily married with 2 cute girls ... I wouldn't call that a 'Trostpreis'. Perhaps I am imagining things. But recall the sad fellow who had to write a book to explain to the uncaring world how disappointed he was at not getting the Nobel Prize he thought he so richly deserved. You, anyway, do not deserve to become what he is.Be generous with yourself, who you are and what you've done. That you do deserve.

    Thanks again, for the videos, the blog and the book, which I am reading.


  17. I really like this song. Got me all emotional. Keep 'em coming!

  18. I've long associated music from Germany with the more formal, classical variety - Bach, Beethoven, etc. It didn't occur to me that pop-music, or folk music, with individual singers, or small groups of singers, might also originate from Germany, until I watched/listened to Bee's very entertaining Youtube videos, such as this one. I also recently came across a German folk music group "Faun" (link below), while browsing Youtube. Though fluency in German was lost after my grandfather's generation, the lack of understanding the language does not diminish the enjoyment of the music at all.



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