Music of the Spheres: TO BE RESCHEDULED

Event Location
The Health Museum


Houston Cinema Arts Society, The Health Museum, and NASA welcome Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced to Houston for a FREE evening of discussion and a screening of the short film “Music of the Spheres” directed by Jon Bougher and Kohl Threlkeld.  Advanced registration is required.

Our ancestors believed that the movements of celestial bodies were a form of music. Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced, a blind astrophysicist from Puerto Rico, studies the universe through sound and carries on this ancient tradition.

“For most people, the study of astrophysics means poring over calculations, charts, texts and graphics. But Wanda Diaz-Merced [and her collaborators] have pioneered a different approach. Its underlying motif is simple: Space produces music.” — Smithsonian, May 31, 2013

Following the screening of the short film, Jon Bougher will discuss the making of the film with Dr. Diaz-Merced.  The evening will continue with Diaz-Merced explaining the nature of her work and a discussion with Houstonian Michael McCulloch about data accessibility for the vision impaired.

Wanda Diaz-Merced

“When Wanda Diaz Merced lost her sight in her early 20s, her dreams of studying stars in the visually oriented scientific world suffered a major setback -- until she discovered ‘sonification,’ a way to turn huge data sets into audible sound using pitch, duration and other properties. Merced realized that she could use her ears to detect patterns in stellar radio data, and could uncover connections obscured by graphs and visual representation.”  TED June 2016

“Music of the Spheres” won 2nd Prize in NASA and Houston Cinema Arts short film competition collaboration “CineSpace”.

Last year, the second annual CineSpace competition drew over 460 entries from 48 different countries.  Fifteen finalists premiered their films at Houston Cinema Arts Festival’s CineSpace screening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Filmmakers brought new visions to life using real-life space imagery; from NASA telescopes and robotic spacecraft exploring our solar system and beyond, to sights captured on the International Space Station where men and women have been working off the Earth, for the Earth for more than 15 years.




NASA’s journeys into air and space continue to power inspiration that encourages future generations to explore, learn and build a better future. Humanity has used the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. The next decade of exploration will be a time of rapid technological advancement and innovation as humanity stands poised to make the journey to Mars.

The Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008 that organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The Ninth Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival will take place from Nov. 7 - 14, 2017.

Michael McCulloch grew up in Houston, Texas and is a graduate of Rice University where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering.  He has worked full time since graduating from Rice for The Boeing Company’s Space Exploration Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  He was recognized for his service to the Houston disability community by being awarded the CARE Award in September 2014 by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. In October 2016, he was appointed by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve a two-year term as a commissioner on the Houston Commission on Disabilities.