It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new Symphony of Science – videos autotuning scientists and science popularizers to promote critical thinking – and I’m pleased not only that a fresh one went up, but that it’s about a topic near and dear to me (and should be to everyone): climate change.
It’s nice to see Asimov included in the video. And I like the message: we can fix this if we take it seriously and try. I wind up spending a lot of my time and effort debunking the shills of the oil industry, and it’s good to remember we also need positive messages, too.
A new Symphony of Science has come out today, in honor of Carl Sagan’s birthday. And I’m pleased to see it features three people I call friends: Neil Tyson, Brian Cox, and Carolyn Porco:
Isn’t that wonderful? Symphony of Science is the work of musician John Boswell, who takes the words of scientists and creates these lovely videos. You should watch them all.
I mention that Neil, Brian, and Carolyn are all friends for two reasons; one is that sharing a love of science is not a zero-sum game, a conserved quantity. The more we share it, the more people who are heard and seen doing it, the more desire there is for it. Each of us broadens the audience for all. There is no fixed capacity for learning and wonder.
But also, it’s more than that. It’s a reason I think Sagan would’ve agreed with as well: we’re all in this together. Paupers and kings, famous and infamous, men, women, black, white, all flavors of humanity. We are all riding this planet, and where we go is largely up to us. We can make the most of it, or we can squander it.
I am personally inspired by pieces like this. Like most people, I sometimes lose sight of my own goals, I sometimes get mired in the day-to-day business of life. But when I see Neil and Brian and Carolyn and, yes, Carl Sagan, letting their passion show, mine returns as well.
Keeping the passion is what drives the personal thirst for learning. Showing that passion is what instills it in others.
Show a little passion now and again. Who knows who you’ll inspire?
A new Symphony of Science has just been released: "The Quantum World!"
This one is more upbeat than the others, and features my pal Brian Cox, as well as a few other familiar faces… including a delightful end quote by Richard Feynman which I think can be rephrased to say why scientists love doing what they do: science answers the questions posed by the imagination.
You should watch all the Symphony of Science videos. They’re delightful.
Tip o’ the boson to Gia.
If you’re reading this, there’s already a good chance you know about Symphony of Science: John Boswell’s amazing collection of videos where he has autotuned the words of scientists and science promoters, creating a lovely and beautiful series of paeans to reality.
John has done something pretty cool: he’s taken the audio from ten different pieces he’s written (plus one bonus track) and put them all in one place to download. These are high-quality audio files, and the neat thing is that in exchange for the download he’s asking for donations to his project, whatever you think is fair. You can download them for free, but he’s hoping to raise funds to create more videos and promote more science.
I really love this project — as do a whole lot of other folks, too — so I expect his experiment in quid pro quo will do well. As you might remember, one of the songs, "Wave of Reason", has a line in it by me, too. I’m still really proud to have been included in this project to bring a love of science to even more people.
Tip o’ the baton to Noisy Astronomer.
Lovely, as always. Nice to see such wonderful speakers for science in this work, doing what they do best: inspiring us to explore more, think more, and be better humans.
John Boswell, a musician from Washington State, is famous on the web for creating the Symphony of Science — musically autotuned talks by scientists and skeptics discussing the nature of science, reality, and wonder. These are impossibly catchy videos, worth watching over and again. The first, featuring Carl Sagan, was called A Glorious Dawn, and was simply amazing. It quickly went viral, becoming huge on the web.
John has just released his seventh in the SoS series, called A Wave of Reason, and like all of them is profound and lovely. And you may recognize one or two of the people in it…
So yeah, that’s me at about 1:26, saying "Teach a man to reason and he’ll think for a lifetime." It’s from my "Don’t Be A Dick" speech that I gave at TAM 8, and I think it’s worth putting it into context. Here’s some more from that part of the speech (starting at about ten minutes in):
The Symphony of Science strikes again! This time, it’s The Case for Mars:
These songs are very catchy and ethereal. And what fun to see my friends Brian Cox and Penelope Boston in this one! Penny is made of win. She rocks.
Having said that, I have some comments. In general I agree with the general thrust of these videos, making science cool and interesting and even — dare I say it? — fun. But this is the first one where I’m not sure I agree with the premise.
The newest version has statements by a dozen different scientists, all talking about what science is and what it does. As Richard Dawkins says, science is the Poetry of Reality:
Pretty cool. I love the sentiment, and it’s fun to see how many friends are in there, too. And you know what? Everything they say in there is true.
Tip o’ the semiquaver to Julia Sherred.
John Boswell, the musician and producer of the wonderful Symphony of Science remixes, has created a new one, the fourth in the series: The Unbroken Thread. It features our man Carl Sagan, with David Attenborough and Jane Goodall. I like this one quite a bit.
I hope Boswell keeps making these. They’re very well done! The music is pleasant, the meaning is deep, and the words, of course, are beautiful and something everyone should hear.