Tag Archives: The Physics of Rock Guitar

Rock Guitar in 11 Dimensions (review)

On Saturday I attended an excellent event in the Edinburgh International Science Festival:  Rock Guitar in 11 Dimensions, presented by Dr. Mark Lewney:

This was science presentation at its best: great guitar playing; comedy; conjuring; audience participation; information presented in a stimulating way; enthusiastic response in the Q&A; the feeling that science is about you, your life, the universe in which you live and, most excitingly of all, the idea that some of the mysteries of the universe could be solved within our lifetime (well, to be fair, I think he was addressing the many younger members of the audience..). On that note, I was pleased to see a pupil there, with his dad, and to discover that he had already been at another event in the festival.

Starting with a very clear explanation of the world of sound, vibrations, acoustics, amplification etc., Dr. Lewney’s talk went on to explore: dimensions; spacetime; the origins and future of the universe and string theory. Rather than describe content here, let me direct you to Dr. Lewney’s entertaining and informative YouTube videos all of which, I feel, are tailored made for the pupil who feels all learning to be connected:

Highlights of a similar talk in Japan:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/OOJXzlB2qXM?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
The Physics of Rock Guitar:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/vPNPcyWSuzo?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Cool Acoustics Part 1:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/y3SotmBmLRg?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Cool Acoustics Part 2:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/AU-BJv0QKGc?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Cool Acoustics Part 3:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/mVKprDUHqQs?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Dr. Lewley’s lovely Ibanez guitar

had been airbrushed by Jim Fogarty. It features pictures and equations of Albert Einstein and Max Planck which you can see close up here.
This festival, I feel, is one of Edinburgh’s best – and possibly underestimated – events. It is also the greenest, in terms of booking: one visit online; one e-ticket number entered into my phone’s notepad; no printed matter!
For the record, I have been to two other events: The Mind is Somewhere North of the Neck and Seven Deadly Sins and
have tickets for two further events: Because God Made It That Way – Paul Dirac and the Religion of Mathematical Beauty in Fundamental Physics and The New Intelligence: Working Memory.