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The Harmony of the Sphere

Kant and Herschel on the Universe and the Astronomical Phenomena. International Workshop. 

Kant & Herschel International Workshop Icon

Conference Organiser: Silvia De Bianchi (UCL/ University of Rome La Sapienza).

This conference took place in May 2011 at UCL.


  • Workshop Programme (link)
  • Workshop Gallery (link)

Concert: Music of the Stars

Over the centuries music, astrology, maths and geometry have had a changing dynamic. Scholars thought the intervals between musical notes were an earthly revelation of the ordering of the universe – the `harmony of the spheres’. The measuring of music in metres and rhythms went with the celestial round of days and years. This concert for voice, lute and harpsichord features music by composers who, like John Dunstable, Vincenzo Gallileo and William Hershel, were also astronomers. Early works are juxtaposed with modern pieces inspired by thoughts of space and stars.

  • Concert Programme (pdf)
  • Concert Recording (mp3; 42 min)

Sara Stowe - soprano, keyboards; Matthew Spring - lute

Presentations from the Workshop

  1. Michael Hoskin (Cambridge) Nebulae, Star Clusters and the Milky Way: from Galileo to William Herschel (pdf; lecturecast)
  2. Michael Rowan-Robinson (Imperial) Kant and Herschel: The Interaction of Theor and Observation (pdf)
  3. Brigitte Falkenburg (TU Dortmund) From Kant's Early Cosmology to the Cosmological Antinomy (pdf; lecturecast)
  4. Gary Banham (Manchester Metropolitan) Kantian Cosmology (lecturecast)
  5. Gary Mathlin (Bath) Herschel's Astronomy (pdf)
  6. Jonathan Everett (UCL) The influence of Newton on Kant (pdf)
  7. Hsiang-Fu Huang (UCL) Cradle of Grand Amateur: Public Astronomical Lectures in Eighteenth Century Britian (pdf)


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