The Jazz of Physics

The Jazz of Physics

The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe

Book - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
A theoretical physicist and jazz musician combines his two loves to present a new theory of the universe.

Perseus Publishing
A spectacular musical and scientific journey from the Bronx to the cosmic horizon that reveals the astonishing links between jazz, science, Einstein, and Coltrane

More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane put physics and geometry at the core of his music.

Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander follows suit, using jazz to answer physics' most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe. Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics-a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim-The Jazz of Physics reveals that the ancient poetic idea of the Music of the Spheres," taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.

The Jazz of Physics
will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.

Book News
Author Stephon Alexander, a physicist and a jazz musician, is seen on TEDx talks, Google’s SciFoo, the Science Channel, and NOVA. In this book for general readers, students, and scholars, he highlights connections between jazz and the laws of physics and points to the role of jazz music as a way to answer the ultimate questions that the study of physics leads us to ponder. As he explains the latest theories and discoveries about the relationship between sound waves and the waves that make up all matter and energy, he intertwines his own memories of his childhood music lessons and how he came to study physics in college. In spite of some math, the book is accessible to general readers, offering visual appeal with b&w photos, illustrations, and simple diagrams. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A theoretical physicist and jazz musician combines his two interests to present a new theory of the universe, using jazz to clarify confounding issues in physics and answer questions about the past and future of the universe.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2016]
ISBN: 9780465034994
Branch Call Number: 523.1 ALEXA


From the critics

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Sep 09, 2017

If you're looking for something to daydream about this will do it. And no, not an easy read but if you reread each paragraph, well, there you go.

Jan 04, 2017

This book was a challenge for me because I don't have an extensive background in physics or mathematics. Despite my intellectual shortcomings,
Alexander effectively created a work that is largely understandable: part biography and part particle physics treatise.
My favorite "a-ha" moment was the correlation between the structure of the universe, the structure of Earth, humans, and ultimately, music.
We are products of our environment, so it is no wonder that music possesses the same patterns seen in string theory. Coupled with his personal anecdotes on
his musically-enriched childhood and adolescence, I consider this book to be required reading for those who are looking for an informal introduction to the beauty of physics.


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