Carl Sagan Sings About The Universe

Hat tip to which had the video below as the video of the day last week. I normally don’t watch the videos there but something inspired me to and I am glad it did.

The video is a remix of Carl Sagan from the Cosmos television series with a little Stephen Hawking from the series Stephen Hawking’s Universe. The remix is an effort by Symphony of Science which creator John Boswell says “is to bring scientific knowledge and philosophy to the masses, in a novel way, through the medium of music. Science and music are two passions of mine that I aim to combine in a way that is intended to bring a meaningful message to listeners, while simultaneously providing an enjoyable musical experience.”

Right now there are four videos on the site. As is the case with so many musical groups, my favorite so far is their “early work;” their first video seen above. Symphony of Science remixes the footage from Cosmos and other science shows using auto-tune to make the speakers “sing.”

Given my recent post about interdisciplinary use of arts in education, I was pleased to see an example of someone doing just that. While the videos weren’t designed for classroom use, they could easily be used as part of instruction. The videos also reminded me of the TED video featuring Mallika Sarabhai I wrote about last month. Specifically about the quote so many people seemed to love – “You have treated the arts as the cherry on the cake. It needs to be the yeast.” I seemed to me that video editing and music helped an thirty year old science series bloom a little.

I had other concerns on my mind than watching a science show back in 1980. I never realized just how beautiful the imagery was that Sagan conjured during the series both visually and descriptively in the narration. It belies the common notion of science being dry and sterile and Symphony of Science gives it another interesting twist. I see that all 13 episodes are available on Hulu. I may have to take a look at them.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Leave a Comment