The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe
By Stephon Alexander
Elevator pitch: Music lovers are at high risk of being inspired by this exploration of the connections between music and physics. Music is perhaps the most persistent metaphor in science, from Pythagoras’ “harmony of the spheres” to the prevalent modern theory that all the world is composed of infinitesimal vibrating strings. Mr. Alexander elegantly charts the progress of science from the ancients through Copernicus and Kepler to Einstein (a piano-player) and beyond, making it clear that what we call genius has a lot to do with convention-challenging courage, a trait shared by each age’s great musicians as well.
Very brief excerpt: “…the millions of stars within galaxies organize themselves into self-similar, fractal structures, like the fractal structure found in Bach’s and Ligetti’s compositions.”
Surprising factoid: Black holes can emit a musical tone; it’s a B-flat about 50 octaves below middle C on your piano.