Mickey Hart and George Smoot Talk Rhythms Of The Universe

June 22, 2015

The beginning of our universe: mysterious forces came together in space, and matter, and time began, with vibration unlike anything else before or since.  The Big Bang, a birth in chaos and din, was beat one. (Planet Drum, p. 11)
 
Rhythms of the Universe: An Evening with Mickey Hart and George Smoot.
Watch Now: http://bit.ly/mickeygeorgerotu
 
Drumming at the Edge of Magic (1990) and Planet Drum (1991) reflected Mickey Hart’s journey to discover the history of the drum and spirit of percussion. His investigations led to envisioning the world as an outgrowth of rhythm. Everything alive can be looked at as having a rhythmic beginning and end. Any motion, any event coursing through time, can be measured. If it can be measured it can be repeated. It then possesses a rhythm of its own. 
 
Mickey has explored both the microscopic and the macroscopic dimensions, always conscious of the Sufi saying, “He who violates a rhythm unawares is no longer our friend.”  What are the rhythms to which our cells respond? What are the neural connections one needs to make and when? What is the origin of  the rhythm in the universe? How can rhythm can be used to treat disease or increase understanding of our humanity? These  investigations led to collaborations with many scientists, including  cognitive neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley [1, 2], music therapist Connie Tomaino [3, 4], acoustician Elizabeth Cohen [5], and Physics Nobel Laureate George Smoot [6].
 
Smoot was awarded the Nobel prize in 2006 for his work in studying cosmic microwave background radiation. Mickey and George were united in their mutual passion for music, physics, and universal resonances. When he received his Nobel prize, George put a good part of the award towards establishing the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics [7]. His goal was to attract young people to science and to set research and pedagogical agendas for the twenty-first century.
 
Mickey and George joined forces to make a film as an outreach project for the BCCP. The result is Rhythms of the Universe, a 22:00 multi-sensory exploration of the universe. It is a poetic and scientific celebration of humankind’s yearning to understand the cosmos, and of the vibrations that underlie everything we know. The film is a kind of lyric montage, with the two of them narrating over imagery, music, and sonifications. 
 
The film premiered at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC on September 29, 2013. Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, led a lively discussion before and after the screening of the film. They covered the film’s origins, comparisons the universe to a musical instrument, how complex information is made understandable through visualization and sonification, and the role of music in education. It was a special evening for everyone who was there, and thankfully it was recorded and can be seen online.
 
COVERAGE OF THE FILM’S PREMIERE:
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/39395730
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/former-grateful-dead-drummer-mickey-hart-composes-music-from-the-sounds-of-the-universe-265907/?no-ist
 
REFERENCES:
- If you are a student of quantum mechanics, yes we are aware of the wave/particle duality. 
[1] http://gazzaleylab.ucsf.edu
[2] http://gazzaleylab.ucsf.edu/neuroscience-projects/rhythm-brain-project/
[3] http://musictherapy.imnf.org/about-us/category/meet-our-staff
[4] http://musictherapy.imnf.org/news/readmore/highline-ballroom-nyc-with-mickey-hart/events
[5] http://blueribbontaskforce.sdsc.edu/members.html
[6] http://aether.lbl.gov
[7] http://bccp.berkeley.edu