UC Santa Cruz Astronomer Gregory Laughlin joins acclaimed composer Philip Glass February 21 in a "Brainwave" discussion at the Rubin Art Museum in New York.
For its third year and in conjunction with the exhibition Visions of the Cosmos, Brainwave is a series of 20 sessions this winter and spring that bring together eminent thinkers from multiple disciplines with neuroscientists and astrophysicists to ponder big thoughts about "things that matter."
Laughlin and Glass appear in the third Brainwave event titled "How Do We Listen to the Music of the Spheres?"
Laughlin is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics whose research delves into orbital dynamics and the evolution of planetary systems. Glass is one of the most influential composers of the past half-century. Though sometimes called a "minimalist," Glass describes his compositions as "music with repetitive structures."
Laughlin said he and Glass will explore commonalities between music and orbital dynamics. The museum's initiative to pair the two was sparked in part by Laughlin's articles on his blog oklo.org that delve into ways to "sonify" planetary movements.
He developed software to map planetary systems as audible waveforms. He said he became intrigued by the realization that planetary systems can be used as a type of nonlinear digital synthesizer and can provide an enormous palette of sound -- sounds never before heard.
The Laughlin/Glass Brainwave session begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, February 21 at the Rubin Museum of Art at 150 West 17 St., New York City. Admission is $25.