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A rare occasion where a scientist is portrayed not as “mad”, but as a complex human being. And – with some help – it even got the science right!

Der Eröffnungschor von “Doctor Atomic” (Oper von John Adams)

We believed that
“Matter can be neither
created nor destroyed
but only altered in form.”
We believed that
“Energy can be neither
created nor destroyed
but only altered in form.”
But now we know that
energy may become matter,
and now we know that
matter may become energy
and thus be altered in form.

Kein schlechter Text für eine Oper, oder?

Aber er war nicht von Anfang an so. Das Libretto von Peter Sellars hat eine recht bewegte Geschichte:

Große Teile des Operntextes wurden aus freigegebenen US-amerikanischen Regierungsdokumenten und der Korrespondenz der am Projekt beteiligten Wissenschaftler, Regierungsbeamte und Militärvertreter adaptiert. (…) Nach den ersten Aufführungen wurden Teile des Librettos von Adams und Sellars nachträglich abgeändert. Damit trugen sie der Kritik des damaligen Präsidenten der American Physical Society, Marvin Cohen, Rechnung, der bemängelt hatte, dass Teile des Librettos (insbesondere der Eröffnungschor) in wesentlichen Punkten naturwissenschaftlich nicht korrekt seien.

 

Mehr gibt’s hier:
Scenes from Doctor Atomic (New York Times)
Libretto (pdf)
Met in Schools
Offizelle Webseite: www.doctor-atomic.com

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The Isotope Square Dance on Vimeo

From the wonderful and slightly bizarre world of “Dance your PhD”…

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(I am researching atoms for a project these days. Came across some interesting sites. Will post “atomically” all week.)

The Radioactive Orchestra is a project by the Swedish nuclear safety organization KSU and DJ Axel Boman. The idea is to provide a way to “sense” radiation, and to do so in a playful way that invites exploration. The “instruments” of the orchestra are the 3175 currently known isotopes. For each of them, their energy levels during radioactive decay are represented by sound.

It may look a bit technical at first, but I found it quite intriguing and fun when I started to play around a bit:

Here is a sample by Axel Boman himself, featuring Rubidium 88 & Cobolt 60:

 

 

via @brainpicker

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Robot Quadrotors Perform James Bond Theme by Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev, engineers at the University of Pennsylvania

These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

More at : http://www.upenn.edu/spotlights/penn-quadrotors-ted

via @zeitonline_vid

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Ein Film über Stephen Hawking.
Von Errol Morris.
Mit Musik von Philip Glass.

via @openculture (who provides some interesting background on the film here.)

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hawking!

Birthday Coverage:
Alok Jha, The Guardian
Der Geist, der zu den Sternen reist, ZeitOnline

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… and wows not only the audience, but a select panel of neuroscientists, too.

 

More of Bobby McFerrin and the science behind this demonstration is in the full “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus” event video from the World Science Festival 2009:

 

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…and an angry one it seems (even before Durban):

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TEDxAmsterdam 2011 Human Brain #1 (dress rehearsal) – YouTube.

Rutger Hauer, The Dutch National Ballet and Amsterdam’s creative community make brains from people, an Idea Worth Doing. This is the dress rehearsal of the first human brain in a series of three. See it live: 25th November 2011. http://www.tedxamsterdam.com

via @neuroghetto and @DrShock

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Biochemusik. Sweet.

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6.865.488 views, and counting. Totally deserved, too.

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