Formal Launch of Concordia 8th March, 2018

March 8, 2018, on exact day marking the 400th anniversary of Kepler’s first inkling of his 3rd Law of planetary motion, we formally kicked off the Concordia project at the University of Brighton’s Fab Lab. Here is the text of the invitations that went out, resulting in a packed house, cupcakes, pizza, and inspiring conversations:

Kepler Concordia: A new musical instrument for scientific exploration

What if you could answer a 400-year-old burning question just by playing a musical instrument? You are warmly invited to join Brighton Connected Futures in celebrating the quadricentenary of one of the most important “AHA! moments” in history by launching the Kepler Concordia Research Project.

At the University of Brighton, in honor of Kepler’s most important work, Professor Kelly Snook is leading an international team of collaborators to begin building an immersive, interactive, scientifically accurate model of the solar system that you play like a musical instrument. Flying in Virtual Reality through the complex harmonic geometries of Kepler’s Harmonies of the World (“Music of the Spheres”), you are master of the universe through cockpit control of time, speed, location, and a host of other parameters. This instrument is called Concordia, which is Latin for “harmony,” and will be released as worldwide as a VR app with open-source DIY cockpit in 2019, on the 400th anniversary of the publication of Kepler’s “Harmony of the World.”

We invite you to join us in celebrating the kick-off of the project, where you will learn more about Concordia’s history, goals, and different areas of research; discover ways of getting involved; meet some of the international project collaborators; and have a chance to try out some of the technologies they bring to the first phase of creating the Concordia prototype, including:

  • Margaret Schedel (Stonybrook University) introducing data sonification and “ferociously interactive media”
  • Joakhim Gossman (University of Trossingen) introducing Audiofraktal and 3D sound
  • Hartmut Warm (Keplerstern) introducing The Signature of the Spheres and his interactive visual app via Skype
  • Robert Thomas introducing recent breakthroughs in reactive, adaptive, generative, immersive audio
  • Yuli Levtov (Reactify Music) introducing and guiding journeys through the Horizons VR musical worlds for Google Daydream
  • Caeli Lohr guiding you through the Versum audiovisual composition environment created by Dutch artist and programmer, Tarik Barri
  • Kelly Snook giving hands-IN opportunities to try out the gloves, which control sound and visuals with movement
  • Members of the University of Brighton Fab Lab introducing the joys of personal digital fabrication and DIY hardware dev

Why now?

For the first several decades of his life, Johannes Kepler had been wrestling with the age-old question of how and why the sun, moon, planets and stars moved, pouring over his colleague’s data and enduring heavy religious persecution for his support of Copernicus’s controversial sun-centered theory. Using principles of musical harmony as his primary scientific tool, he had already made the stunning discovery that orbits were elliptical, not circular, with the Sun at one focal point, and that planets sweep out equal areas in equal times. But he was still not satisfied. And then, one day, it hit him:

“After I had discovered true intervals of the orbits by ceaseless labor over a very long time and with the help of Brahe’s observations, finally the true proportion of the orbits showed itself to me. On the 8th of March of this year 1618, if exact information about the time is desired, it appeared in my head. But I was unlucky when I inserted it into the calculation, and rejected it as false. Finally, on May 15, it came again and with a new onset conquered the darkness of my mind, whereat there followed such an excellent agreement between my seventeen years of work at the Tychonic observations and my present deliberation that I at first believed that I had dreamed and assumed the sought for in the supporting proofs. But it is entirely certain and exact that the proportion between the periodic times of any two planets is precisely one and a half times the proportion of the mean distances.”

We think this is worth celebrating!  Please join us. If you can’t make it in person, let us know if you’d like to join us virtually. And if you can’t do that either, stay tuned for future developments and get in touch!

Why the University of Brighton’s Fab Lab?

Concordia PI, Kelly Snook, has built the University of Brighton’s Fab Lab to facilitate breakthroughs in creative, innovative, interdisciplinary research and education. Concordia is the first and flagship research project housed within the Fab Lab, where researchers will lead the DIY hardware and immersive, interactive, audiovisual technology development for the first Concordia prototype.