On Thursday, the Boston Museum of Science will premiere The Hidden Code at the Charles Hayden Planetarium, a multimedia piece by Paul Miller (aka D J Spooky). The piece combines music, stunning visual effects and live readings to bring science to the general public in ways that only a few years ago would be unthinkable.
Scientists, artists, museum curators and digital technology experts are inventing a new language for science popularization that should be part of every school curriculum, public and private. It’s the dawn of the “science as awe” era, where it’s not just about telling people what atoms, black holes or genes are, but about integrating the scientific narrative into a broader context — where science becomes part of a grander theme, our search for meaning in a mysterious universe that never ceases to amaze and surprise us.
The Hidden Code was a collaborative work between D J Spooky and several Dartmouth professors from different disciplines, from cognitive neuroscience and biology to astrophysics. It attempts to immerse the viewer in a multi-sensorial “science experience” where music, text and visuals projected onto the planetarium dome create a sort of virtual reality evoking a journey through the cosmos.
It’s not quite the same as traveling through the wormhole in the movie Interstellar, but it’s as close as we can get from the safely of our imagination.