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.

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

  1. Quantum mechanics intersects music by wave events, and does so in the relative quantum topological atomic function as a spectrum of nuclear radiation of force fields, with valid joule values, along a scale of rising orders of differential rates of nuclear transform of mass to energy by the Einstein equation [ e = m(c^2) ]. Those events match those of the musical scale of notes with melody.
    The analogy deserves expansion, since music has vivid tones which should be due to quantum effect symmetry mirror imagery with the scale of varieton output. Those forcons develop intricon (Y-shaped strings) compounds which spin and crystallize to wider coral-fan diskons as the atom's quantum symmetry field number advances during each [ Nhu = e/h ] pulsation cycle. Intense, smooth musical performance could be due to symmetry with the atomic level of symmetry progressions as force builds toward h-bar output and natural superworkon states of crystalons. Views of the h-bar particle and more unified relative quantum waveparticles related to musical tones and symmetry fields are found at: http://www.symmecon.com.

  2. I like Jaron Lanier & DJ Spooky, but from this description I can't tell if this is yet another case, of musicians using some external science as a metaphor for something they are doing musically, or if there is actually some direct scientific connection. I am all for either a real or symbolic connection as long as the proponents acknowledge that directly, but From what is presented, it sounds more like a weak connection between Quantum Mechanics and music.

  3. Quantum music is the concept that recorded sound may have intrinsic musical timbre and fine structure elements which have a quantum mechanical definition, i.e. good music carries rich, deep, evocative or haunting effects that are created and projected by control over the forcon particles and their compounded energy waves, wavelets, wavoids, wavons, and photons which build music. In other words, some musical effects may have thermosymmetric interplay which gives the listener relativistic quantum effects that transform types of listeners' personal energy in tune with the listener's mood.

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