Autotune for science, or when youtube got smart

When I first stumbled across  Carl Sagan – ‘A Glorious Dawn’ ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed) I thought I would find a quick laugh, instead I found something profoundly moving. This autotuned mash-up of documentary footage ends up leaving viewers feeling much of the awe which so much of formal science education fails to communicate. The video and song capitalize on the sing-song voice, poetic statements, and dramatic style Carl Sagan, and many other astronomers are known for, and use them to develop engaging and moving video and music.

I was delighted to see that the feelings this piece evoked in my wife and I was not just our own funky science geek tastes. Since September 17th the video has been viewed 1,550,136, and those viewers have left their thoughts and feelings about the work in the comments. While youtube comments are notoriously  the lowest form of communication, these comments reflect and reiterate my own feelings about the piece. The National Science Foundation is always looking for ways to get the public excited about science. I say they should give that money to melodysheep. Think about it, how many of the 1.5 million people that viewed this video would have viewed the two documentaries which the video drew from?

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For his follow up piece, which underscores that this is not just a singularity, see Symphony of Science – ‘We Are All Connected’ (ft. Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson & Bill Nye)

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