Music and the Making of Modern Science (MIT Press)

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9780262027274: Music and the Making of Modern Science (MIT Press)

A wide-ranging exploration of how music has influenced science through the ages, from fifteenth-century cosmology to twentieth-century string theory.

In the natural science of ancient Greece, music formed the meeting place between numbers and perception; for the next two millennia, Pesic tells us in Music and the Making of Modern Science, "liberal education" connected music with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy within a fourfold study, the quadrivium. Peter Pesic argues provocatively that music has had a formative effect on the development of modern science -- that music has been not just a charming accompaniment to thought but a conceptual force in its own right.

Pesic explores a series of episodes in which music influenced science, moments in which prior developments in music arguably affected subsequent aspects of natural science. He describes encounters between harmony and fifteenth-century cosmological controversies, between musical initiatives and irrational numbers, between vibrating bodies and the emergent electromagnetism. He offers lively accounts of how Newton applied the musical scale to define the colors in the spectrum; how Euler and others applied musical ideas to develop the wave theory of light; and how a harmonium prepared Max Planck to find a quantum theory that reengaged the mathematics of vibration. Taken together, these cases document the peculiar power of music -- its autonomous force as a stream of experience, capable of stimulating insights different from those mediated by the verbal and the visual. An innovative e-book edition available for iOS devices will allow sound examples to be played by a touch and shows the score in a moving line.

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About the Author:

Peter Pesic is Tutor and Musician-in-Residence at St. John's College, Santa Fe. He is the author of Labyrinth: A Search for the Hidden Meaning of Science; Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature; Abel's Proof: An Essay on the Sources and Meaning of Mathematical Unsolvability; and Sky in a Bottle, all published by the MIT Press.

Review:

In this magnificent book, trotting from Pythagoras to Max Planck and beyond, Pesic shows us again and again how music informed innovation, and he offers illuminating new insights into nearly three millennia of scientific developments.... Pesic's brilliant, unique work fills a glaring need.

(Alexandra Hui, Physics Today)

Pesic recounts 18 episodes from ancient Greece to the 20th century in which music provided critical inspiration, theoretical insight, and a source of analogy for scientific research. The well-written book is thoroughly researched and makes a compelling case for the centrality of music and musical thinking to the development of modern science.... The result is a novel, creative, scholarly contribution and a flexible pedagogical tool. Highly recommended.

(J. D. Martin, Choice)

"Pesic is doing something with this book that makes it quite original and therefore meriting close study... This is a well-argued and well-illustrated text that should be of especial interest to students and scholars (and indeed anyone) with a background in the mathematical and physical sciences or their histories... Music and the Making of Modern Science should also be of interest to (classical?) music lovers, especially those who are prepared to broaden their understanding of what music is and its enduring relationship to the cosmos."  
(Penelope Gouk, Isis)

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Peter Pesic
Verlag: MIT University Press Group Ltd Jul 2014 (2014)
ISBN 10: 0262027275 ISBN 13: 9780262027274
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Buchbeschreibung MIT University Press Group Ltd Jul 2014, 2014. Buch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - In the natural science of ancient Greece, music formed the meeting place between numbers and perception; for the next two millennia, Pesic tells us in Music and the Making of Modern Science, 'liberal education' connected music with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy within a fourfold study, the quadrivium. Peter Pesic argues provocatively that music has had a formative effect on the development of modern science - that music has been not just a charming accompaniment to thought but a conceptual force in its own right. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9780262027274

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