Tuesday, October 20, 2009

E = mF B D# G#

A scientist (or mathematician?) pseudonymed Thoreau describes how attending musical performances helps him solve research problems.
...you may be thinking “So, you spent 5 hours not paying attention to the show?” but somehow a good music performance just gets me in that zone. One of the most important things that I worked out during my thesis research was done during Phantom of the Opera. And I loved Phantom.

I don't see a problem with this at all. I do the same thing, at musical performances, at plays, watching movies, reading books, etc. I don't tend to solve entire problems as much as get inspired to consider new problems or new approaches to a problem that I will complete later. This is because I get pulled back into whatever art I'm consuming at the moment, unless it really sucks. And then I will flit from problem to problem, including working on my grocery shopping list.

Bonus points to the first person who figures out the title of the post.


Paul Hertz said...

Energy equals mass times the Tristan chord?

Elaine Fine said...

Perhaps it is a reference to a passage in a piece in E major that begins mezzo forte with a G# minor triad in first inversion.

But what could it be? Something from Phantom of the Opera, maybe?

Scott said...

Paul wins. I don't make any claims that the equation makes sense, but that is indeed what I was thinking.

Elaine Fine said...

I was never very good at math.

Shawn said...

Scientists have always said that music and math compliment each other because of their locations in the brain, so I guess I’m not really surprised that Thoreau would use music to help conquer boundaries.