By Ian Liberman
THE SCIENCE OF ROCK MUSIC
In this edition of Inferno Of Rock Report, we are going to examine the connection between rock music and science. Everything relates to science. It incorporates many areas that you may not have even considered, including music, painting and many sports. In this column, we will look at the link between rock music and science from the perspective of physics, music and the practitioners of both.
When you manipulate an electric or acoustic guitar, physics plays a valuable role. The electric guitar string is tightened at both ends to produce sound waves that are amplified through electricity while being dependent on vibration and overtones. The sound is generated through the vibrations of strings while the overtones or string harmonics, become distinctive to the actual instrument.
Many scientists are attracted to rock, classical and jazz music because of the physics and the possibility of a link between musical theory and cosmological principals such as the String Theory (as embodied in the book Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander).
DR. MARK LEWNEY
Dr. Mark Lewney is an expert in the art of rock guitar solos, and an astrophysicist who lectures on the relationship between the vibrations of the strings on an electric guitar and cosmological concepts such as the Big Bang Theory and String Theory. He calls it “Rock in 11 Dimensions.” His dynamic lecture can be found here.
JOSEPH LE DOUX
Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux has organized a group of scientists to form a rock band called the Amygdaloids. The band has formulated various tunes that discuss love and life, while including songs that reflect their experiences in the world of brain research including mind/body links, consciousness and memory. Their new EP is called All In Our Mind. Check them out here.
DR. LAWRENCE KRAUSS INTERVIEW
It gives me great pleasure to feature an interview with the theoretical physicist, Dr. Lawrence Krauss. I idolize Dr. Krauss in the same way that I idolize Stephen Hawking.
Dr. Krauss – who is the Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project – has been labeled a “rock star” of science and physics by his peers.
In addition to recognition from his peers, he is held in high regard by the press for his talent to mix entertainment, controversy, and cosmological principals. He has the unique ability to simplify and communicate his hypotheses to the average person.
Dr. Krauss acquired his PhD in Physics at MIT. He was the focus of an award-winning 2013 movie entitled The Unbelievers, which examined his experiences and those of Richard Dawkins, as they appeared on a lecture tour to discuss topics ranging from biology, cosmology to anti-theism. He has also written over 300 scientific papers and has 26 books featured on Goodreads.
Here is the interview with Dr. Krauss:
IAN LIBERMAN: What rock bands or artists (classic or present) have had a profound effect on recreational habits and possibly on your worldview?
DR. KRAUSS: Rock music helped frame my worldview. When I was young, I listened primarily to the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater, Bob Dylan, The Band, and the Beatles, but Neil Young and others also.
The notions that particularly resonated with me were: willing to be a rebel and go against the grain if necessary, speaking out against injustice, celebrating the beauty of the world. I like to think that all of these played a role in making me who I am today, and are reflected in both my writing and my actions.
For me, growing up in the 1960s in particular, Rock represented freedom, freedom to think about the world a new way, freedom to act outside conventional norms, and freedom to enjoy life.
IAN LIBERMAN: If you could choose any rock band to play in, which band would you choose? What song would you play? What instrument would you play, and why?
DR. KRAUSS: Ha.. well, I usually don’t pick favourites. If you are talking about current bands, I might pick Hollywood Vampires because my friend Johnny Depp plays in it, so it would be fun to tour together. If you are asking about historical rock bands, than any of those I mentioned previously because I admired their music so much. As for instrument, it would have to be guitar, because I don’t play that now, and of course it seems the sexiest of the instruments. Songs are harder. Of course, any of the Dylan songs would be a gas. Among the Rolling Stones songs, it might be “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” I have an attachment to “Imagine.” I like so many songs today, that I don’t think I can choose, as they are too new, and haven’t yet been filtered.
IAN LIBERMAN: Your new cosmology and physics book called The Greatest Story Ever Told. . . So Far: Why Are We Here?, is coming out on March 21st. I can hardly wait. Can you give us a small synopsis of what we can expect?
DR. KRAUSS: The book is about the revolutions that have taken place in our fundamental understanding of nature in the 20th and 21st centuries. It celebrates the greatest intellectual journey humans have ever undertaken, and also impacts on the question of ‘Why we are here?’ because it demonstrates the remarkable accidents that have led to our precarious existence. It makes it clearer that the universe wasn’t created just for us, that we should enjoy our brief moment in the sun.
In this case, I think it clearly relates to the message from Rock, not only to celebrate the world of our existence and make it as good as we can, but also because science, like good music, and literature, gives us a new perspective our place in the Universe. Namely, science and the rest of culture are intertwined, and should be enjoyed together, because together they celebrate the best of what it means to be human.
INFERNO OF ROCK TRIVIA QUESTIONS:
FEBRUARY 2017 TRIVIA QUESTION ANSWERS
 Carmine Appice is bringing back a classic ’70s hard rock band. What band is it? CACTUS
 Lamb of God`s “The Duke” is now one of the top rotated tracks on rock radio. What was their name of the band before they became so successful? BURN THE PRIEST
MARCH 2017 TRIVIA QUESTIONS
 What famous scientist (and his theories on wormholes) inspired Mastodon’s Crack The Skye album?
 Name the first two bands to be labelled as “Space Rock” by critics in the 1970s.