Dark MattersPostcards from the Energy Frontier by Prof Jon Butterworth
This is great.
I had nothing to do with it, it happened in the 95% of the Physics Department (and of the lives of my PhD students) about which I know nothing.
I recommend you watch it and form your own impressions before reading my thoughts, but I have some anyway if you’re interested.
I am wary of science-based music, and I haven’t been especially keen on much since Alpine Kat. This is an extension of my general sceptical interest in the relationship between the arts and science. As I wrote a while ago here:
Science is undeniably the source of some wonderful images. But speaking generally, the art which has most impact on me usually hints at, and shows back to me, something I have some knowledge of already, and leads me into a different way of thinking about it. This happens with art which is not specifically about science. It may refer to love, distance, location, parenthood, fear… almost anything. This sets off all kinds of echoes in my thoughts and deepens the experience and understanding.
This rarely happens (for me) with self-consciously science-inspired artworks. But this one got through to me. The music works and the science is correct and they mix in the mind and set off those echoes. The times we are surprised by the actions of people around us, by other lives and our own, uncomprehending. The forces people feel, the battles they fight, the clusters they form, the damage that is done. 5% might be generous.
The only part they ever see is in the face of light.
October 31st seems to have become #DarkMatterDay. Dark matters. But the stars are still important, and beautiful.
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Professor Jon Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London and a researcher on the ATLAS experiment at CERN involved with, amongst other things, the discovery of the Higgs Boson. He is the author of two popular science books Smashing Physics and A Map of the Invisible. Postcards From the Energy Frontier is the successor to Jon’s hugely successful blog for The Guardian, Life and Physics. He is @jonmbutterworth on Twitter.