Walter Murch

Bode's Law Redux: New Evidence Confirms 18th Century Conjecture on Orbital Harmonies

For nearly 20 years, film-maker and Bolinas resident Walter Murch has been working on rehabilitating Bode’s Law, according to him an unfairly discredited 18th century theory of celestial mechanics that predicted a harmonic spacing of planetary and lunar orbits. Now, research just published in the February MNRAS (Monthly Notices of The Royal Astronomical Society) by Dr. Charles Lineweaver (PhD Astronomy, Berkeley) and Tim Bovaird, seems to confirm the applicability of the Bode relation to other planetary systems in the galaxy. Using data from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, Lineweaver and Bovaird show that: “Based on predictions for the orbital periods, a half-dozen new exoplanets have been found where we predicted they would be using our simplified Bode formula. Our work shows that the Bode relation is definitely not a coincidence. It’s real,” said Lineweaver. Murch’s research also shows a musically harmonic underpinning to Bode’s Law, implying that the ancient dream of a “harmony of the spheres” has an actual basis in reality.

Join TNS Host Michael Lerner in conversation with Walter about his new research and findings. Michael spoke to Walter at a previous TNS event about his research and theories on Bode’s Law in 2009.

Part 1: Bode's Law Redux: New Evidence Confirms 18th Century Conjecture on Orbital Harmonies


Part 2: Bode's Law Redux: New Evidence Confirms 18th Century Conjecture on Orbital Harmonies


Part 3: Bode's Law Redux: New Evidence Confirms 18th Century Conjecture on Orbital Harmonies


Walter Murch

Walter is a film editor, sound designer, director, translator, and amateur astronomer. His 46 years of pioneering sound design and picture editing work on films include THX-1138, The Conversation, The Godfather (I, II, III), Julia, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain, and Jarhead, as well as Return to Oz which he wrote and directed. He is author of In the Blink of an Eye, a book about the craft of film editing, and is the subject of The Conversations by Michael Ondaatje, as well as Behind the Seen by Charles Koppelman. His latest film work (2014) is Particle Fever, a feature documentary on the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson, directed by Mark Levinson. Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, which Murch edited, will be released in May of 2015.