We can draw pictures of these waves, called waveforms.
Key to innovation in theoretical physics is the power of analogical reasoning.
But while Alexander does draw heavily on analogies throughout the book, the parallels and equivalences between music and physics are often far more literal.
He recounts a defining moment: About a decade ago, I sat alone in a dim café on the main drag of Amherst, Massachusetts, preparing for a physics faculty job presentation when an urge hit me. “Could I leave him a message about the diagram that John Coltrane gave him as a birthday gift in ’61?
I found a pay phone with a local phone book and mustered up the courage to call Yusef Lateef, a legendary jazz musician, who had recently retired from the music department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Like an addict after a fix, my fingers raced through the pages anxiously seeking the number. The brisk wind of a New England autumn hit my face as I called him. I think I figured out what it means.” There was a long pause.