From Bach’s Goldberg Variations to Schoenberg’s Twelve-tone rows, composers have exploited symmetry to create variations on a theme. But symmetry is also embedded in the very way instruments make sound. Marcus du Sautoy shares his passion for music, mathematics and their enduring and surprising relationship. The lecture culminates in a reconstruction of nineteenth-century scientist Ernst Chladni's exhibition that famously toured the courts of Europe to reveal extraordinary symmetrical shapes in the vibrations of a metal plate.
Marcus du Sautoy is Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.