The Jazz of Physics

The Jazz of Physics

The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe

Book - 2016
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More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane had put physics and geometry at the core of his music. Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander returns the favour, using jazz to answer physics' most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe.Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics,a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim, The Jazz of Physics revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander's own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and physics, from taking music lessons as a boy in the Bronx to studying theoretical physics at Imperial College, London's inner sanctum of string theory. Playing the saxophone and improvising with equations, Alexander uncovered the connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else. As he reveals, the ancient poetic idea of the music of the spheres," taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.Whether you are more familiar with Brian Greene or Brian Eno, John Coltrane or John Wheeler, the Five Percent Nation or why the universe is less than five percent visible, there is a new discovery on every page. Covering the entire history of the universe from its birth to its fate, its structure on the smallest and largest scales, The Jazz of Physics will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, a member of Perseus Books Group, [2016]
ISBN: 9780465034994
Characteristics: viii, 254 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Call Number: 523.1 ALE


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Sep 09, 2017

If you're looking for something to daydream about this will do it. And no, not an easy read but if you reread each paragraph, well, there you go.

Jan 04, 2017

This book was a challenge for me because I don't have an extensive background in physics or mathematics. Despite my intellectual shortcomings,
Alexander effectively created a work that is largely understandable: part biography and part particle physics treatise.
My favorite "a-ha" moment was the correlation between the structure of the universe, the structure of Earth, humans, and ultimately, music.
We are products of our environment, so it is no wonder that music possesses the same patterns seen in string theory. Coupled with his personal anecdotes on
his musically-enriched childhood and adolescence, I consider this book to be required reading for those who are looking for an informal introduction to the beauty of physics.


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