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Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

Lecture: 'Music and Physics'

Saturday, November 9, 2019 | 10:00 AM

Crow Hall, 201
Crow Hall, St. Louis, MO 63105

Michael Ogilvie, professor of Physics, will present a Saturday Science Lecture. 

We will explore the long relation between physics and music from the perspective of a physicist and amateur musician. We will explain the physics principles behind the workings of musical instruments, and the deep connection of those principles to quantum physics. From there, we will consider the physical and mathematical basis for how Western music “works” and how it has changed in modern times. We will discuss instrument construction past, present and future, paying special attention to the problem of endangered tonewoods. Finally, we will try to understand why certain instruments, such as a violin by Stradivarius, are so prized, and how modern technology tries to outdo the master craftsman of yesteryear.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Science & Technology



Event Contact

Mary Sullivan | marysullivan@wustl.edu

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James Musca

James Musca left a positive review 11/8/2019

Mike did a great job keeping my 14-year old grandson engaged in the topic.....that is big