How quantum mechanics democratised music

How quantum mechanics democratised music

The link between science and music was the topic of this month's Kappi with Kuriosity, a popular lecture series in Bengaluru. 

In a packed auditorium in Taralaya, theoretical physicist Prof Michael Berry from the University of Bristol explained how science- and quantum physics, in particular, democratised music.

Berry spoke of stimulated emission (a molecular interaction), a theoretical discovery of Albert Einstein (1917) which was published in a paper about quantum theory. Laser - the amplified light- was discovered in 1958  which is actually based on the theoretical base set by Einstein and others. The laser was later used to create compact disks (CDs) which were the first popular technology which reproduced music in bulk and hence democratised it, said Berry. 

But the popularisation chain has many joints, as explained by him - physics-mathematics-engineering-business/finance/advertisements- and music. "The CD is a quantum physics machine! Einstein would have never thought that his theory will popularise music," Berry added.

From photography to the colour of gold

Though Henry Fox Talbot invented photography in 1839 the process of digitisation completed the democratisation of the technology. It is again based on quantum mechanics. 

Technically, the colour of gold is explained with the help of two theories- the relativity- physics of fast, and quantum mechanics- physics of small- said, Berry.

Kappi with Kuriosity is a monthly public lecture series, organised to "stimulate the curiosity of the public towards the myriad aspects of science," by the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS-TIFR), in collaboration with the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium and other educational institutions in Bengaluru.