The Music of the Spheres Publication date : November 18, 2013
Sylvie Vauclair is an astrophysicist at the French Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology, a professor emerita at Paul-Sabatier University, in Toulouse, and an honorary member of the University Institute of France. In addition, she is a member of the French National Air and Space Academy and the author of La Naissance des éléments (Editions Odile Jacob, 2006).
Claude-Samuel Levine is a musician specialising in electronic music.
The relationship between astronomy and music is very old, but it was usually based on philosophical, non-scientific notions such as the Pythagorean ‘music of the spheres’ or, later, on Johannes Kepler’s ‘harmony of the world’.
There is no planetary music. Yet, over the past several decades, astrophysicists have discovered that the Sun and the stars do actually resonate like musical instruments, even if their ‘music’ is not directly audible by the human ear. Sound waves spread forth, within their stellar spheres, creating luminous vibrations that can be detected and measured by current instruments. Scientists have thus been able to reveal numerous harmonics, whose study has provided valuable indications on the internal structure of those gigantic gaseous spheres.
This has provided astrophysicists with a new tool to study the stars — one that allows them to determine precisely their mass, age, chemical composition, etc. In addition, it is now possible to transpose such stellar harmonics into audible music.
• The music of the spheres: a new domain of scientific knowledge that offers a better understanding of the universe.
• A new area of astrophysics clearly explained thanks to Sylvie Vauclair’s talent for scientific popularisation.
• A FIRST: the book will be accompanied by an amazing extension, which will enable the reader to actually hear the music of the spheres.