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Lecture: “Symphonic Equations: A Mathematical Exploration of Music” (reg closed)

Abstract: Mathematics and music seem to come from different spheres (arts and sciences), yet they share an amazing array of commonalities. We will explore these connections by examining the musical experience from a mathematical perspective. The mathematical study of a single vibrating string unlocks a world of musical overtones and harmonics--and even explains why a clarinet plays so much lower than its similar-sized cousin the flute. Calculus, and the related field of differential equations, shows us how our ears hear differences between two instruments--what musicians call timbre--even when they play the same note at the same loudness. Finally, abstract algebra gives modern language to the structures beneath the surface of Bach's magnificent canons and fugues. Throughout the talk, mathematical concepts will come to life with musical examples played by members of the National Symphony Orchestra and the speaker, an amateur violinist.

Speakers will include David T. Kung (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), Yvonne Caruthers (National Symphony Orchestra), Aaron Goldman (National Symphony Orchestra).

Free registration is required for this event and space is limited: go to for a link to the registration form.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I won't be able to make it; I'll be getting home too late today.

    February 26, 2013

  • Clay H.

    music 2 my ears

    February 20, 2013

  • Sabrina

    I was So looking forward to this event!!! ... And then - I see it's right in the middle of class. Hope you all enjoy for me :)

    February 6, 2013

  • Mick C.

    I'd love to do this since I'm a mathematician and musician, but alas I am scheduled to be tutoring that evening.

    January 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Registration for the event is now open, and space is limited: go to for a link to the registration form.

    January 30, 2013

  • Rich

    Does anyone know about parking at the Carnegie Institution for Science? I'd rather not take Metro.

    November 21, 2012

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