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Rapper Funky49 rocks out about Fermilab
By Emily Jurlina | Daily Herald Staff

With the donning of his silver spray-painted computer RAM bling, computer wiz Steve Rush, changes into Funky49, a rapper who rhymes about science.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Fermilab Deputy Director and physicist Young-Kee Kim gets a kick out of the Fermilab rap song "Particle Business" by Steve Rush, aka Funky49, during a presentation on Tuesday.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Fermilab physicist David Harding chats with Steve Rush, aka Funky49, after his performance of "Particle Business" a rap about Fermilab, on Tuesday, August 11.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Science rapper Steve Rush, aka Funky49, even has his own bling. Rather than gold however, it's made out of bit of computer RAM and spray painted silver. Rush's background is in computers and friends made the piece for him.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Steve Rush, aka Funky49, does a science rap about Fermilab called "Particle Business" on Tuesday, August 11. It has yet to be released, but his lyrics can be found on his website,


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Steve Rush, aka Funky49, does a science rap about Fermilab Tuesday called "Particle Business." It has yet to be released, but his lyrics can be found on his Web sites, or


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 8/12/2009 12:04 AM | Updated: 8/12/2009 12:17 AM

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You could call Steve Rush's music "School House Rock" on steroids.

The 32-year-old science enthusiast and moonlighting rap artist from Tampa, Fla. was commissioned in May by Batavia's Fermilab to write and record a rap song about their National Accelerator Laboratory.

On Tuesday evening Rush, known by the moniker "Funky49" to the science rap community, came to Fermilab for a communication seminar on using rap as a teaching tool, he also performed the 'Fermirap' song. Rush will spend the next two days filming a music video for the song at Fermilab that will eventually be released on YouTube.

The name "Funky49" was born after Rush overheard a colleague throw the phrase out as a temporary computer password and liked the name so much he decided to use it as his rap persona. Rush even performs with his 49 "bling," a necklace some friends made him that features the number 49 decorated with sparkly pieces of a computer's processor.

Rush got his start in the science rap field after he created a few rap songs for Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry. Fermilab particle physicist Dr. Ben Kilminster read about Rush's work on a science blog and thought a Fermirap was just what was needed to make the lab's work more easily understandable and accessible to the general public.

"It's good to hear people glorifying things like science instead of fancy cars and money," Kilminster said.

Kilminster says that the rap, which describes Fermilab's Wilson Hall as a "science cathedral" and the scientists who work there as "rock stars of physics," is scientifically accurate in its description of the different components of particle physics.

Even though Rush has a degree in business and is not a scientist by trade, he has always had an interest in science. When he was first contacted in May to write the rap, Rush began reading up on particle physics and Fermilab.

"No matter what science field it is, rap music is adaptive and you are able to use it as a learning mechanism... I want scientists to be held in high esteem like they were rock stars," Rush said.

Lyrics to the Fermirap, and Rush's other science raps, are available on his Web sites or

FermiRap Lyrics

Welcome all ya'll to the Fermilab... On the Illinois prairie- Beneath the bison- The frontier of science-. Let me introduce to you- FERMILAB!

-HOOK Rock stars of physics, particle business Smash matter, antimatter and witness Quarks, bottom to top they don't stop "Where the Higgs at?" yo that's their mark Where the Higgs at? x3 go go go!


Tevatron, OG atom smasher Say hello to CERN's party crasher, the New "Lord of the Rings" LHC, hear me, this Be competitive collaboration baby Strippin' off electrons, makin' ions of Hydrogen, now pull that proton Give it that speed we need to make real science Get achieved, I believe, shock Protons, greatly accelerated Two teraelectronvolts they rated Fated to smash, and get mated Creatin' smaller bits, energy still equated! We love collisions, take snapshots Till we get the right shot, learn a lot yo, a Mad grip of events do occur Blast fast, data stream is a blur Normal events, they get ignored, Higgs events, they get adored



High over frontier Wilson Hall tall with Aesthetics, it's a science cathedral For the people that see with math, Collider detectors and massive graphs D-Zero or CDF, who's the best? If pressed I guess it's who closest to Quench the measurement thirst and Who got their results in first Collision detectors, Fermion collectors This ain't the 60s with pocket protectors Peeps cool, like super conducted Magnets, you know four nine ain't frontin'



To me triple beams don't mean pushin' mad coke, it's Scientists in lab coats, so You ready for insight twilight or limelight? Research in basic science, I'll fight. Who's side you with? R&D dollars? Or pork spending for anyone who hollas? Brain drain? No technology policy. Ballot box for better decisions in D.C.

Rap Carl Sagan over new Vangelis keys Science cutter clowns get smacked down please, I'm Trippin' at students slippin' (slippin') in Test scores, against the world they're dippin lets be liftin, positive like positrons Before we ask where we gone wrong down with MTV, forget what you heard get lost in Cosmos and Mister Wizard! Get lost in Cosmos and Mister Wizard (whispered) Get lost in Cosmos and Mister Wizard (whispered)


"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." (Carl Sagan quote)