I wasn’t a fan of “hard sciences” when I was younger. Actually, I had a fatal attraction for social sciences (if the difference still makes any sense). Maybe I never fell in love with physics and chemistry because of the lack of passion – not to mention the poor will of engagement with students – of the teachers I came across. It was instead those teaching humanities who were my favourite because of the vibrant emotions they showed during classes.
So I’m always positively surprised when people passionate about, literally, rocket science and the size of planets find cool ways to talk about them. Because, in the end, it’s all about storytelling: how hard is it to find an engaging way to talk about the electromagnetic spectrum and astronomical observations?
I got my answer at the Ace Hotel on 15 April during The Space Project listening party presented by super/collider in collaboration with Fat Possum and Lefse Records. On paper, it sounded like the nerdiest thing to do in London: a bunch of astronomers and space scientists getting together to talk about the Voyager missions and their famous Golden Records. But then I realised that it was all about music – one of the few chances to listen to pure intergalactic sounds.
While the round table delved into cosmic radiations, the mass of astronomical objects, the types of gases in their atmospheres and how sounds propagating into the void were captured by radio telescopes, we listened to the real “voices” of planets and satellites. And right after to the tracks on The Space Project released by Lefse Records, where those same frequencies were manipulated by artists such as Beach House and Zomes (you can stream the boxset here).
By the end of the evening I knew the diameter of Io and the rotational period of Mars. So, mission accomplished. Then the proper DJ set began, but that is another story.