Music: Scientists

In 1862 a mustachioed German physicist, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, published an enormous volume on the physics and psychology of musical sound. Its enormous title: Lehre von den Tonempfindungen als Physiologische Grundlage für die Theorie der Musik. Terser English translators called it Sensations of Tone. Composers and prima donnas paid little attention to Physicist von Helmholtz' monumental brainwork, but the science of acoustics was groggy from it for half a century.

Even Heavyweight von Helmholtz was unable to explain what made the simplest wheels of a musical composition go round. But ever since...

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