Doctor Joan

Dr. Joan Feynman died back in July 2020, but I didn’t find out about it until mid-September when the New York Times published her obituary (for subjects who aren’t really newsmakers — i.e., their death isn’t in and of itself breaking news, like, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, alas, my muse has not been nearly so forthcoming about — the NYT likes to take their time and get it right).

Dr. Richard Feynman was of course much, much more famous and already has many songs about or mentioning him (my personal fave is Jordin Kare’s “Psi Naught”), but his little sister, a world acclaimed expert on auroras and the magnetosphere, wasn’t exactly a slouch…

Words by Joseph Abbott
Music: “Joan” by Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps

“Girls’ brains can’t do science,” my mother told me
But my brother Ritty, he didn’t agree
He let me assist him, he showed me the sky
I saw the aurora, he said no one knows why
I accepted the challenge to see

CHORUS: And they know me as sister
Nobel winner’s kin
But I have a separate fortune to win
I will shine in a spot of my own
For I’m Dr. Joan

In the great man’s long shadow, I knew I could run
I did the things they said just couldn’t be done
We both studied physics, I chose my own path
He knew he could trust me to check out his math
His the cosmos, but I got the sun


I am as I’m made, I could find no desire
To be just a housewife when the sky was on fire
From New York to Boulder, Boston, JPL
The magnetosphere had a story to tell
Sol’s too crazy for me to retire

CHORUS then:
FINAL CHORUS: Yes, I’m Richard’s sister
Nobel winner’s kin
But this Feynman, too, has her fortune to win
I will shine in a spot of my own
For I’m Dr. Joan

This is the bio am I doing this right? Probably not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *