ENCORE In space, no one can hear you scream, but, using the right instruments, scientists can pick up all types of cosmic vibrations – the sort we can turn into sound. After a decade of listening, LIGO, a billion-dollar physics experiment, has detected gravitational waves caused by the collision of massive black holes, a brief shaking of spacetime that can be translated into a short squeal.
We listen to the chirp of black holes crashing into each other and wonder: could the universe contain more than individual sounds, but have actual musical structure?
A theoretical physicist and jazz saxophonist updates the ancient philosophical concept of the Music of the Spheres to probe the most vexing questions confronting modern cosmology. Find out how the evolution of the universe resembles an improvisational jazz piece, and the musical inspiration John Coltrane drew from Albert Einstein.
- Janna Levin – Physicist, astronomer, Barnard College at Columbia University, author of “Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space”
- Stephon Alexander - Professor of physics, Brown University, author of “The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe”
originally aired July 25, 2016