Physics and Nicki Minaj make for fun college class


Mount Union physics professor Robert Ekey conducts students in his "Science, Sound and Music" class. Students performed the Nicki Minaj song, "Starships" recently using their homemade musical instruments constructed as part of the course.
  • “Science, Sound and Music” is a fun, unique class at the University of Mount Union combining physics and musical instruments.
  • Professor Robert Ekey has taught the class periodically since 2011.
  • Around 20 students built musical instruments, learned about the science of sound, and then performed a snippet of a Nicki Minaj song.

ALLIANCE − University of Mount Union professor Robert Ekey pulled a hot pink wig over his head and donned glitzy sunglasses as he readied to conduct a symphony of more than 20 physics students.

These weren’t ordinary musical instruments — each one was homemade, constructed from raw materials and spare items. Collective parts included plastic pipe, a wooden spatula, flip-flop shoes, chopsticks and drywall screws.

And this wasn’t your ordinary musical performance. A clear giveaway was Ekey’s funky combination of wig and shades, an ode to music superstar Nicki Minaj and her song, “Starships.”

Moving his hands and a baton with the precision of a maestro, the professor led the students in a snippet rendition of Minaj’s song, lasting roughly a minute.

After the tune ended, boisterous applause broke out from around 40 parents, students and staff who had gathered for the mini-concert inside the Peterson Field House on campus. Smiles beamed from both performers and the audience.

This was the final project in Ekey’s class, “Science, Sound and Music,” which transforms physics curriculum into an enlightening and unorthodox classroom experience.

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