January 11, 2010 – Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – Grateful Dead percussionist and Grammy Award winner Mickey Hart will bring his “Rhythms Of The Universe” presentation to Nobel Prize winning physicist George F. Smoot’s upcoming conference, which is hosted by the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics and Instituto Avanzado de Cosmologia. The conference, entitled “CONGRESO COSMOLOGIA EN LA PLAYA, Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation,” takes place in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, from January 11th through 15th, 2010, and draws cosmologists and astrophysicists from around the world.
Have you ever wondered what the planets, the stars and the universe might sound like? While working individually on very different careers, Mickey Hart and George Smoot have been wondering the same question for years. Their mutual curiosity eventually brought them together in exploring this fascinating question.
George Smoot, Nobel Prize-winning physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, used scientific measurements to demonstrate the “Big Bang” theory in 2006. Mickey Hart is the Grammy Award-winning percussionist for the popular American rock band The Grateful Dead. Hart has been working on converting light and electromagnetic waves collected throughout the universe into music that leads back to the sound of the “Big Bang,” the singular event 13.7 billion years ago that blew us into creation. Hart, well prepared for this long, strange trip in search of sounds says, “I knew sooner or later I would have to hear and play with the sound of the ‘Big Bang,’ beat one, the beginning of time and space...this is where we came from."
While preparing for a concert tour with The Dead in spring 2009, Hart started incorporating sounds from space into the popular “Drums and Space” segment, a percussion-heavy experimental jam session which usually takes place during the second set of Dead concerts. After the tour, Hart returned to the Bay Area and connected with Dr. Smoot at his Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics/University of California, Berkeley. The pair began discussing Hart’s project that focused on “musically playing with the fabric of the universe.” This was a coming together of science and art. These two pioneers in their respective fields are hoping that the results of their musical and scientific mission will inspire a greater appreciation and understanding of science through art.
Hart has written four books; two of them (“Drumming at the Edge of Magic” and “Planet Drum”) introduce the subject of the primal rhythmic experience of the “Big Bang.” Dr. Smoot, a fan of the Grateful Dead, discovered the essence of the “Big Bang,” the beginning of time and space. Now, the two have come together, along with Meyer Sound Labs, to tell this amazing story using the latest techniques in sound. They will present their findings at the conference in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, on January 13th, 2010.
Mickey would like to thank Elizabeth Cohen, Ph.D and Cohen Acoustical for their contributions to this project.