“Where do we come from” is a question as old as humanity.
The file below became the basis of a narrated symphony presenting the history of our Universe. It premiered at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC in November 2009.
A few years before the launch of the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope—renamed the “Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope” after the launch—my friend Dr. Peter Michelson, the principal investigator of Fermi’s main instrument, approached me and mentioned that he would be pleased if a musical offering could be organized for the launch.
Recognizing that it was problematic to have a symphony orchestra stand by the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a launch which, in all probability, could be delayed, we agreed to produce a live concert for the first science symposium after launch, devoted to discussing results from Fermi’s first year in orbit.
I first asked Nolan Gasser to compose a prelude (the GLAST Prelude for Brass Quintet) that was played, via a recording performed by the American Brass Quintet, at the launch itself, in June 2008. That recording was accompanied by a lovely video that NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) prepared for us. In addition, I asked Dr. Lawrence Krauss to assist in the development of the narration of a full narrated symphony (like “Peter and the Wolf”), likewise composed by Dr. Gasser, explaining and illustrating the history of the Universe in roughly 40 minutes.
Cosmic Reflection was the result of these efforts. It was accompanied by a full movie also prepared by NASA's GSFC. The World Premiere of Cosmic Reflection was performed on November 9, 2009 at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC by the Boston University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro David Hoose, and narrated by Carey Harrison.
All of us were delighted to be involved in this signal endeavor expressing our awe of nature, and our thanks to the arts and sciences for giving us a glimpse of our place in it.