Book ID: CBB001551445

Music and the Making of Modern Science (2014)


Pesic, Peter (Author)

The MIT Press

Publication Date: 2014
Physical Details: viii + 346 pp.; ill.
Language: English

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.

Reviewed By

Review Gouk, Penelope (2015) Review of "Music and the Making of Modern Science". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 412-413). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Waters, C. Kenneth
Wimsatt, William C.
Seidel, Robert W.
Love, Alan Christopher
Gordin, Michael
Reeves, Eileen A.
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Revue des Questions Scientifiques
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy
Historical Journal
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Harvard University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Pittsburgh
University of Minnesota
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Development of science; change in science
Discipline formation
Science, general histories
Revolutions in science
Science and society
Duhem, Pierre
Watt, James
Newcomen, Thomas
Freud, Sigmund
Darwin, Charles Robert
Copernicus, Nicolaus
United States
Great Britain
20th century
17th century
18th century
19th century
Early modern

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