The sounds of sciencea symphony for many instruments and voices Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper is a celebration of the frontiers of science. Goodenough, the maestro who transformed energy usage and technology through the invention of the lithium ion battery, opens the programme, reflecting on the ultimate limits of battery technology. This applied theme continues through the subsequent pieces on energy related topics (the sodium ion battery and artificial fuels, by Mansson) and the ultimate challenge for 3 dimensional printing the eventual production of life, by Atala. A passage by Alexander follows, reflecting on a related issue: How might an artificially produced human being behave? Next comes a consideration of consiousness and free will by Allen and Lidstrom. Further voices and new instruments enter as Bowen, Mauranyapin and Madsen discuss whether dynamical processes of single molecules might be observed in their native state. The exploitation of chaos in science and technology, applications of Bose Einstein condensates and a consideration of the significance of entropy follow in pieces by Reichl, Rasel and Allen, respectively. Katsnelson and Koonin then discuss the potential generalisation of thermodynamic concepts in the context of biological evolution. Entering with the music of the cosmos, Yasskin discusses whether we might be able to observe torsion in the geometry of the universe. The crescendo comes with the crisis of singularities, their nature and whether they can be resolved through quantum effects, in the composition of Coley. The climax is Krenn, Melvin and Zeilinger consideration of how computer code can be autonomously surprising and creative. In a harmonious counterpoint, Yampolskiy concludes that such code is not yet able to take responsibility for coauthoring a paper.

altmetric score

  • 22.4

author list (cited authors)

  • Alexander, G., Allen, R. E., Atala, A., Bowen, W. P., Coley, A. A., Goodenough, J. B., ... Lidstrm, S.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • May 2020