Three Bodies - Mixing Art and Science / by FPM Team

Art and science often influence each other. In physics, the "three body problem" deals with understanding how three objects influence motion and its solution has been applied to plotting the trajectory of spacecrafts. Several works of music, dance, video and literature are presented below.

We believe these examples of the interplay between art and science are very inspiring - we hope you agree.


The video, "Three-body Problem Sonified", provides a simple but fascinating example of how the science is applied to a work of art.  Sound is generated when the distance between two 'planets' is minimal, one note of C major triad is assigned to each pair.


In a collaboration at the University of California, Santa Cruz, professors Greg Laughlin (physical and biological sciences) and Ted Warburton (dance) developed several dance pieces inspired by the three body problem. In the following interview, Laughlin and Warburton discuss their collaboration. 


In China, the book "Three Body Problem" became a best selling science fiction novel.  Written by Liu Cixin, it was translated into English in 2014, won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel,  was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and was a 2015 recommended book by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  Part of the story focuses on an obsession with a video game called "Three Body Problem".

The following is an engaging trailer for a movie based on the book.