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  1. Lise Meitner

From the album Some Professional Help

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I was asked to create and perform some incidental music for a production of a play called Delicate Particle Logic by Jennifer Blackmer. So I figured, “Why not write a song about it too?” Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who made groundbreaking discoveries in radioactivity and nuclear physics. She, along with Otto Hahn, led a small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission. Meitner received many awards and honors late in her life, but she did not share in the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry for nuclear fission that was awarded exclusively Otto Hahn. Since the story is far more complicated, I encourage you to read or see Blackmer’s play, or at the very least get on wikipedia to learn more about Lise! The intelligence and bravery displayed by Lise in a plethora of adversities (aside from one of the first women in her field, she was also jewish and escaped Nazi persecution in Sweeden) is beyond the limits of my imagination.

Ben Einstein- piano
David Möschler- bass
Lily Sevier- percussion
Scott Alexander- vocals and guitar
Recorded by Adum Muñoz and Jesse Nichols at Fantasy Studios
Mixed by Jesse Nichols at Opus Studios
Mastered by A.T. Michael MacDonald at AlgoRhythms Mastering

Lyrics

If I fell in the woods
Then I’m sure I’d make a sound
But if I stood straight up and set roots in the ground
No one would notice me around
And I’m sure I’d never be found
Despite my persistence, I’d question my existence
But the answers can’t be found,
Or at least they aren’t any good
And then the leave will rot
And I’ll still not see how I ended up here in the middle of the woods

I think I’m smart enough to be here
And too smart to have to prove that
The center of the action is where we all come from and make things happen
Just to be a part of this
Gives meaning to the emptiness
I can’t fill it up unless I take my place

I don’t mean to turn my nose at those on the outside
But I’d fall apart in isolation
Like a house of cards in an old train station
With no wind to knock me down
But the weight of the dust that I gather will push me to the ground

I don’t want to cause a commotion
But if I can be in it, I will keep from being broken
I do not need to be alone
Because I can’t thrive if I am on my own
So if I’m smart enough
I’ll work hard because
The forces from the center all push out

So Imma ganna be here
And I’m going to be seen here

So you best me taking notes for this
Because the time will come when I’m finished
And what will all of this mean
If memory is so slippery I could be displaced from all I’ve made
So please believe me
It’s not glory that I’m seeking
I’m just trying to exist while I keep from disappearing
I’m no tree in the woods
I’ll echo far and near
As long as you can recognize
That I’m smart enough to be here