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Scientists and music

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brianvds
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« on: August 17, 2013, 04:55:30 AM »

This thread has no particular point other than to be a list of fun trivia on the theme of scientists and music.

Brian May, guitarist in the group Queen, started out his career as student of astronomy. He was busy with his Ph.D. thesis in astrophysics when Queen became so successful that he put the thing on ice for a decade or three. But a few years ago, he finally completed it.

Richard Feynman was a very skilled player of bongo drums:

Feynman PLAYS THE BONGOS


They were both following in the footsteps on another illustrious scientist, namely William Herschel, who built the best telescopes of his age and is today chiefly remembered for his discovery of Uranus, and of infrared radiation. But those were hobbies; Herschel was a musician by profession, and thanks to YouTube, one can nowadays enjoy some of his music online, such as this bit from one of his symphonies:

William Herschel - Symphony No. 8, I: Allegro Assai


In case we begin to think science and music always go together we have to consider the case of Darwin, who was apparently quite thoroughly tone deaf.

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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 12:07:28 PM »

And Patrick Moore was reportedly a self taught xylophonist xylophoner xylophone player.
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brianvds
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 15:11:43 PM »

And Patrick Moore was reportedly a self taught xylophonist xylophoner xylophone player.


He was also a composer of several operas, if memory serves. Don't know whether any of them was ever performed.
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brianvds
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 08:43:20 AM »

I just learned that Benjamin Franklin composed a string quartet:

Benjamin Franklin - Quartetto for Three Violins and Cello


Somewhat unusually, it is scored for three violins and cello, rather than two violins, viola and cello, as is more common. Haven't given it a good listen yet, so can't comment on its merits.

Franklin also invented the glass harmonica, for which composers as famous as Mozart wrote some pieces.

By the looks of it, Franklin was apparently an all-round cool frood who knew where his towel was.
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