Jaron Lanier, DJ Spooky Jam on ‘The Sound of Sci(l)ence’

Haverford College, in suburban Philadelphia, plays host this coming week to electronic and experimental hip hop musician DJ Spooky, virtual reality guru and composer Jaron Lanier, and Living Colour percussionist Will Calhoun as they gather for an event called “The Sound of Sci(l)ence.” The conference takes place June 15 – 17.

“The Sound of Sci(l)ence: Listening to Quantum Mechanics, the Big Bang, and Nanotechnology,” is a three-day series of conversations, workshops, and performances exploring the intersection of music and quantum mechanics. Supported by a Mellon Arts Residency Planning Grant from Haverford College’s Hurford Humanities Center, the event pairs visiting artists Will Calhoun, Jaron Lanier, and Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) with Haverford faculty and students in an effort to widen the scope of quantum mechanics pedagogy through the study of sound, as well locate synergies with courses across the academic disciplines.

Organized by Chemistry professor Joshua Schreier and Physics professor Stephon Alexander, who describe the idea behind the workshop this way:

“Mathematically, quantum mechanics (QM) has many analogies with the classical wave phenomena of sound, and yet the pedagogy of QM is almost entirely visual. This series of conversations and performances will explore how to ‘listen to’ the simple systems used to teach QM, how this can increase student comprehension, reach out to non-technical audiences, and for its own inherently aesthetic benefits. In addition, we would like to explore how this could be used to explore/comprehend our research interests in cosmology and nanoscience. “

The event is FREE, but registration is required. Attendees can register for tickets at this link.

Schedule of Events:

Monday, June 15th

4:00 p.m. Sharpless Auditorium

Open Panel Discussion on Sound and the Physics Curriculum
Speakers: Will Calhoun, Jaron Lanier, Paul Miller/DJ Spooky, Peter Love, Stephon Alexander, and Joshua Schrier

Tuesday, June 16th

12:00 noon Sharpless Auditorium
Screening of Paul Miller/DJ Spooky’s film Rebirth of a Nation
*Snacks provided

4:00 p.m. Hilles 109

Wavedrum Presentation/Workshop with Will Calhoun

Wednesday, June 17th

7:30 p.m. Marshall Auditorium, Roberts Hall
Performance: “The Sound of Sci(l)ence” Featuring Will Calhoun, Jaron Lanier, and Stephon Alexander

Additional Information:

Visiting Artist Will Calhoun is a Grammy Award-winning percussionist and member of Living Colour; winner of multiple drumming awards. Calhoun’s music utilizes both the Korg Wavedrum and the Mandala Drum, integrating banks of effects and other technological enhancements into his performances.

The name Jaron Lanier may be familiar to many readers, for his pioneering work in virtual reality (in fact, it was Lanier who coined the term in the early 1980s).  Founder of VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products, Lanier is also a visual artist and composer. At present, he is Interdisciplinary Scholar-in-Residence, CET, UC Berkeley.

Paul Miller (DJ Spooky) is an electronic and experimental hip hop musician whose work is sometimes called “illbient” or “trip hop”. He is a conceptual artist, film-maker, turntablist, and producer.