Musician John Boswell has been engaged in a project called the Symphony of Science. In this project, he writes pieces of music and applies as lyrics the interesting and inspiring quotes from leading scientists, researchers, and speakers. He uses their original voices but Auto-Tunes the pitch and timing to be melodic and paced with the music. It’s not meant to be a realistic simulation of singing, but has an electronic pitch to it, which is fitting for the slightly techno-style musical backdrop. According to the project’s website, it is “designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form.”
What is so great about Boswell’s work is not the technical aspects, but how he uses music to communicate the awe of the topics. The profound experience we can have as we explore the wonders of the universe are stunning and it is refreshing to see music like this capture it emotionally.
In the first song, A Glorious Dawn, we hear Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking explaining humanity’s history of progress and inevitable reach for the stars. In The Case for Mars, Robert Zubrin and others make the case for exploration of the red planet in a later installment, and Onward to the Edge explores other worlds in the solar system, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson.
In We Are All Connected and The Unbroken Thread, Bill Nye, Richard Feynman, David Attenborough, and Jane Goodall join with Tyson to explain the wondrous origins and interrelationships of life on this planet. Richard Dawkins and Nye continue this theme, marveling at life in The Greatest Show on Earth.
Our Place in the Cosmos features Richard Dawkins, and explores human origins, and Children of Africa celebrates human progress and challenges, with Alice Roberts and others. Ode to the Brain covers the wonders of the human brain, with Vilayanur Ramachandran, Jill Bolte Taylor, and more.
From biology to physics; The Big Beginning covers the origins of the universe, bringing Tara Shears into the mix. We even get to hear the majestic voice of Morgan Freeman when Boswell uses clips from the program “Through the Wormhole” in his song, The Quantum World.
In The Poetry of Reality and A Wave of Reason, Boswell addresses the more fundamental principles of reason in investigating the natural universe. The former features a stunning choir of 12 figures from science including those mentioned, plus Michael Shermer, Carolyn Porco, PZ Myers, and more. The latter includes Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, and James Randi among others.
These are only some of the speakers Boswell uses in his music, but we cannot ignore the musical compositions themselves, which are invigorating in their pace and convey that sense of wonder that is so central to the spiritual approach to naturalism. Surely, this is an excellent tool in communicating the beauty of the universe as revealed by science.
If you would like to explore the videos, listen to the songs, and support the project, you can do so at its official website: www.symphonyofscience.com.
A Glorious Dawn – the first work in the series
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.