Physics Professor Stephon Alexander has been busy promoting his new book, The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe.
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 favor, 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.
“In this very creative work Stephon Alexander leads us through his remarkable journey from jazz musician to theoretical physics, from the music of the spheres to string theory.” —Leon N. Cooper, Nobel Laureate of Physics, 1972 and Brown University Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Below are some links to interviews and articles published while on his book tour.