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Warped Opera

24 Aug 2009, 22:04 UTC
Warped Opera
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Science inspires art in all kinds of surprising ways. An article in SEED last week focused on a new opera by Spanish composer Hector Parra, that debuted earlier this year in Paris: Hypermusic Prologue. The work was inspired by theoretical physicist Lisa Randall's popular science book, Warped Passages. The son of a physicist, Parra read the book and became fascinated by Randall's description of how hidden dimensions might explain why, for example, the gravitational force seems so much weaker than the other fundamental forces. And he approached her about writing a libretto for his new opera. Parra's opera is decidedly modern, with an experimental score, as befitting such cutting-edge physics theories. There are only two roles and minimalist, abstract stage design by artist Matthew Ritchie -- apparently he makes sculptures inspired by inflationary universe theory, so Hypermusic Prologue was a natural fit for his talents.Randall's book describes her seminal work with fellow physicist Raman Sundrum on model-building -- developing testable mini-theories of higher dimensions in the universe, rather than shooting for a full-fledged Theory of Everything, as with conventional string theory (as if string theory could ever be described as fully conventional). String theory imagines extra dimensions -- beyond the ...

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