The Physics of Jazz and “Here Comes Now”

The Physics of Jazz and “Here Comes Now”

By day, Dr. Stephon Alexander, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, is a theoretical physicist specializing in the interface between cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity. By night, he “blows sax”. Born in Trinidad and raised in Bronx, NY, Alexander draws music heritage from Jazz, Caribbean Reggae and Hip Hop. His ambition in science is big–to unify quantum theory, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and string theory, which have fascinated him since childhood, into a theory of quantum gravity! When he gets stuck, he turns to music like Einstein used to do, except his instrument for relaxation and subconscious realization is the tenor saxophone, instead of violin and piano.

“Exploring a physics problem is like jazz improvisation—understanding the basic rules and themes lets you take off in spontaneous new directions. Music allows me to understand physics on a simpler, yet deeper level.
”He explains. And not just for him, a rigorously trained academician with several advanced degrees. He believes music can make the complexities of physics more accessible for young minds too.

“Music is a wonderful device to communicate the beauty of physics. Matter isn’t a boring, dead, solid thing. It’s vibrating energy that maintains its consistency through resonating, just like a unified harmonious orchestra playing. I like to demystify the Big Bang by breaking it down in terms of sound. By connecting physics with music, I want to inspire young people and open their eyes to new possibilities.”Alexander also wanted to record an album, but never found the right timing, until one day, at a café in Brooklyn, when he ran into a professional musician by pure chance.

“Erin Rioux is an electronic psychedelic record producer, vocalist, and curator specializing in experimental pop acts. He admires science, and had always wanted to collaborate with someone who is not aprofessional musician.
The two’s chance encounter led to Here Comes Now, a full-length album of electronic dance music intended to take the listener “on a trip through the human experience and the greatest curiosities of the universe, while pushing the boundaries of contemporary music”.


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“The love affair between music and science began in an ancient Greek blacksmith shop, where the legendary Pythagoras did the first experiments connecting ratios and sounds, such as the lengths