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Symphony of Science is a music video remix project started by electronic music artist John Boswell in September of 2009. The videos feature remixed documentary footage of famous scientists, educators and philosophers that have been pitch corrected using the Antares plugin Auto-Tune.
Boswell uploaded his first music video remix to YouTube on September 7th, 2009, which featured infomercial footage of the television personality and pitchman Billy Mays (shown below, left). On September 17th, Boswell uploaded a video titled “Carl Sagan – ‘A Glorious Dawn’ ft Stephen Hawking (Symphony of Science)”, including clips from Carl Sagan’s 1980s television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and the documentary film Stephen Hawking’s Universe (shown below, right). Within three years, the video received over 7.6 million views and 27,000 comments, as well as being ranked as one of the top rated videos of all time in the music category on YouTube.
On September 23rd, 2009, the tech culture blog Geeks Are Sexy highlighted the Carl Sagan remix, calling it a “musical tribute to two great men of science.” On the following day, the video was posted on the viral content site BuzzFeed and the psilocybin enthusiast Shroomery Forums. On September 25th, Carl Sagan’s son Nick praised the video in a post on his personal blog, proclaiming that his father would have loved the video. On October 7th, Boswell launched the site Symphony of Science, which featured his collection of remix videos, audio downloads and a web forum.
On October 19th, Boswell released a new video titled “We Are All Connected” (shown below, left), including additional Carl Sagan footage as well as clips of physicist Richard Feynman, astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson and educator Bill Nye. On November 22nd, 2010, Boswell uploaded “Symphony of Science – A Wave of Reason”, featuring clips of famous scientists, educators and philosophers promoting scientific reasoning while eschewing pseudoscience and superstition. The following day, the video was posted to the Discover Magazine blog and the techno-culture blog io9. Within two years, the video received over 800,000 views and 4,500 comments.
On March 23rd, 2011, Boswell uploaded a video titled “Ode to the Brain!” (shown below, left), featuring remixed footage of several TED talks about neuroscience. On March 2nd, 2012, TED commissioned Boswell to remix footage from the TED 2012 lectures (shown below, right). As of March 2014, the official Symphony of Science Facebook page has received over 45,000 likes and the @musicalscience Twitter account has accumulated more than 10,000 followers.
Mister Rogers Remix
On June 7th, 2012, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) uploaded a video to YouTube titled “Mister Rogers Remixed”, which featured a commissioned auto-tune remix by Boswell using footage from the children’s television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The same day, Redditor doogie92 submitted the video to the /r/videos subreddit in a post titled “PBS discovers Symphony of Science on YouTube, commissions a remix of Mister Rogers.” Within one month, the video received over 5.3 million views and 18,000 comments.