Monday, August 15, 2011

Book on Science of Music Cites Berkeley Lab's Keith Jackson’s Work with Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart

A few years ago, CRD computer scientist Keith Jackson, who is also a musician, contributed to “Rhythms of the Universe,” a musical project to “sonify” the universe by Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart, that was performed at the Cosmology at the Beach Conference held January 11-15, 2010 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, sponsored by George Smoot’s Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. Jackson converted the electromagnetic data from exploding supernova light waves by slowing down the frequency and elongating or “stretching” it into audio form; Hart then took the sounds and incorporated them into his musical composition. 

That collaboration has been cited in the recent book The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song by Elena Mannes.  According to Mannes, we are at a breakthrough moment in music research, for only recently has science sought in earnest to understand and explain the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Music may even contain organizing principles of harmonic vibration that underlie the cosmos itself, as exemplified in Jackson and Hart’s supernova music.

Mannes has won six Emmys for her documentaries and is a member of one of the first families of American music. Her grandparents founded the Mannes College of Music in New York City; and her great uncle, Walter Damrosch, conducted the Metropolitan Opera and was the instigator for the building of Carnegie Hall. 
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