Tom Morello was in college rock band with 2022 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry – and they were good

Tom Morello and Dr Carolyn R. Bertozzi
(Image credit: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tom Morello has congratulated the 2022 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, Dr Carolyn R Bertozzi, and revealed that Dr Bertozzi was a former bandmate of his back in their college years at Harvard University.

It’s funny how things turn out. In the mid-‘80s, when Morello was taking social studies and Dr Bertozzi was a chemistry undergrad, they both played in a band named Bored Of Education. 

Now Tom Morello is on the rock guitar pantheon as Rage Against The Machine riffer-in-chief, and Dr Bertozzi is one of the preeminent chemists in the world, having just shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 with her colleagues Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless for “the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.” 

Offering his congratulations on Instagram, Morello said that not only were they in a band together, heck, they could play. A band name with strong Iggy Pop, “I’m bored / I’m the chairman of the bored” energy, Bored Of Education did not lack for musical nor material chemistry, winning the Ivy League Battle of the Bands in 1986, with Dr Bertozzi on electronic keyboards, and Morello in spandex and on electric guitar.

We have no means of knowing if the field was strong, but there is not shortage of Ivy League grads in popular music. 

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo studied at Harvard, dropped out to play music, dropped back in again and graduated cum laude in English, and alongside the likes of Barack Obama and David Duchovny is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society – the oldest academic honour society in America. 

Art Garfunkel and Alicia Keys both attended Columbia. Huey Lewis read engineering at Cornell, later dropping out in 1969 and the rest is history. 

Back then, the Cornell frat bands must have been pretty good. Lewis shared the Cornell campus with all four original members of King Harvest, most famous for their 1972 hit Dancing In The Moonlight. More recently, Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin studied his PhD in zoology at Cornell.

We eagerly await an announcement confirming that Dr Bertozzi will be taking some time out from her professorial role at Stanford University to play guest keyboards on a future RATM album or, better still, if it is time to get Bored Of Education back together.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.