Once again, here we are talking about science and metal. This time around it's a paper written by Rodney M. Schmaltz, published in Frontiers in Psychology, that states metal could be used to promote scientific thinking in the classroom.
Helping students think like scientists—that is to apply the rigorous principles of hypothesis testing outside of the classroom—is a challenge (Willingham, 2008). Robert Cialdini proposed that creating mystery in the classroom is an effective means to engage students and promote learning (Cialdini, 2005). Specifically, Cialadini argued that instructors should frame a lecture in the same way a mystery writer frames a novel, by posing a puzzle and providing the information for the reader—or in this case, the student—to solve it. The question, or mystery, can be broadly stated as, “Can music lead people to commit harmful acts?”
Schmaltz's paper cites various heavy metal "mysteries," such as Mayhem's killings and using their victims skulls as a necklace, or the case in the 1980s where Judas Priest's "subliminal messages" "made" two boys kill themselves.
The paper ends, stating that "instructors are encouraged to use Cialdini's approach of bringing mystery to the classroom with other elements of pop culture, such as film, videogames, comic books, and other forms of music to promote scientific thinking." Obviously this applies to realms far beyond metal, but the fact that metal was used as the jumping point for the paper is pretty damn cool.
Seriously, if you have a little bit, read the paper. It's awesome.