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New Meetup: Solving the Stradivarius Effect @ When Science Meets Art, Museum of Science

From: T.J. M.
Sent on: Friday, January 16, 2009 3:01 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Nerd Fun - Boston!

What: Solving the Stradivarius Effect @ When Science Meets Art, Museum of Science

When: March 25,[masked]:00 PM

Where: Click the link below to find out!

Meetup Description: What: Lecture with William F. "Jack" Fry, physicist and professor emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Rose Mary Harbison, violinist and artistic director of the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival at the Museum of Science.

When: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | 7:00 pm

Price: Free

From the Museum of Science site:

"Since the early 1700s, 'Golden Age' Italian violins have been revered for their superior tone. Scores of scientists, artisans, and musicians have sought answers to the mystery of their sound, but none has been able to duplicate the magic created by these coveted instruments. Characterizing varnish, wood, and geography as secondary factors, William Fry has revived the 17th-century science of levers, focusing on the violin's inner graduations. Listen as he and Rose Mary Harbison rediscover the legendary sound.

"Tickets: Seating is limited. Seating passes for free programs are available to the general public in the Museum lobby beginning at 5:45 p.m. on the evening of the program. First come, first served.

"Museum members may reserve a limited number of seating passes for free programs in advance; first come, first served. Availability is limited to the number of Exhibit Halls admissions permitted with your membership level. For member reservations, call between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday of the week of the program only:[masked]".

... this is another "Let's compete with the general public to get tickets" thing. I always show up early to events, getting out at 5:00 pm and heading directly to where the event takes place. I'll see if I can pick up some of the free tickets for people then. More than likely we'll have to pick up tickets on our own individually.

Where to meet:

If we can't get a bunch of the free tickets on reserve for our group, pick up your ticket in the lobby, and come to the food court across from the Museum Store. T.J. Maher is 5 foot 7, with blue eyes, brown hair, a "Hello my name is T.J." nametag, and a red MEETUP sign attached to his black messenger bag.

About William F. "Jack" Fry:

"William F. 'Jack' Fry, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is well known for his pioneering research in high-energy physics and his work in astrophysics, but during the past three decades he has also pursued research on violins. Fry has been immensely successful in understanding the delicate interconnectedness of the different parts of the violin. Fry is committed to a scientific probe and an analysis in terms of physical principles because he believes that the Cremona masters must have known, consciously or unconsciously, what they were doing when they were making their violins. With new insights, he has come closer than anyone before him to reproducing the sound of the great Italian violins".

-- Article from "Wisconsin academy review: volume 46, issue 2 (Spring 2000)", listing as a source for the article Walter Kolneder's book "The Amadeus Book of the Violin: Construction, History, and Music" and interviews with Fry.

About Rose Mary Harbison:

"Rose Mary Harbison, violin, is artistic co-director of the Token Creek Festival. She has recorded for DDG, CRI, Koch, Northeastern, and New World. She has worked directly with many composers, including Copland and Sessions, and has been guest artist with the Santa Fe, Aspen, Tanglewood, and Berlin Festivals. With Rudolph Kolisch she founded the Kolisch Ensemble, and she is a founding member of Emmanuel Music Boston. Ms. Harbison taught at Brandeis and MIT, and was a Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute and winner of an Ingram-Merrill Award".

About the Stradivarius, from Wikipedia:

"A Stradivarius is a stringed instrument built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. The bowed instruments are famous for the quality of their sound, which has defied attempts to explain or reproduce.


"In 1660, Antonio set up shop on his own in Cremona, though his early violins are generally considered inferior to those of his 'golden age', between 1698 and 1720. While his techniques have long been fertile soil for debate and not fully understood by modern craftsmen and scientists, it is known for certain that the wood used included spruce for the harmonic top, willow for the internal parts and maple for the back, strip and neck. This wood was treated with several types of minerals, including potassium borate (borax), sodium and potassium silicate, and vernice bianca, a varnish composed of Arabic gum, honey and egg white".

Learn more here:

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