Tag Archives: Nobel Prize

Einstein and Music

Those who have visited The Old Dairy will have seen our Einstein equation for the number of guitars you can have. But, all joking aside, Einstein did have a love of music.

In fact, Einstein developed an appreciation for music at an early age. He recorded, in his later journals, that “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.” So much so that he named his violin Lina

It’s not that surprising that he took to music as his mother was a pianist and started Einstein on the violin when he was 5 years old. However, it wasn’t until he was 13 and discovered Mozart’s violin concerti that he grew to love music. He is later recorded as saying “love is a better teacher than a sense of duty.

Although Einstein never considered becoming a professional musician it didn’t stop music becoming a major part of his life and he performed for private audiences and friends; including Max Planck and his son.

In the early 30s, whilst at the California Institute of Technology, he visited the Zoellner family conservatory in Los Angeles where he played some of Beethoven and Mozart’s works with members of the Zoellner Quartet. And when he was nearing the end of his life, the (then young) Juilliard Quartet visited him in Princeton, he played his violin with them, and the quartet was “impressed by Einstein’s level of coordination and intonation”.

So why are we talking about this today. Well, it was #OnThisDay in 1923 Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics.

#ThrowbackThursday

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Importance of Music

We thought this from Martin Chalfie (2008 Nobel Prize for chemistry winner) about the importance of music in his life was really interesting and thought you might find it interesting too.

“When I was twelve, my father gave me a Gibson C1 Classical Guitar, and taught me how to play for about a year. He was an amazingly good teacher, who never got impatient with my ineptitude. I still play and get immense enjoyment from the guitar, though I do not have his skills. And I wish I had talked with him more about playing. My father suffered from dementia in the last years of his life, but continued to play guitar. On a visit home I gave him some guitar versions of the Bach cello suites, which he would play for hours a day. On a return visit, he told me that he thought this guy Bach was terrific. I realized that with his memory going, he was rediscovering Bach every day, which was the one consoling consequence of such a horrible condition.”

You can read more about the importance of music in Nobel Laureates’ lives here.

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