Episode 20 – When The Uncertainty Principle Goes To 11, with Philip Moriarty

Episode 20 - When The Uncertainty Principle Goes To 11, with Philip Moriarty

 Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist of the band Spinal Tap, modified his amplifier for a higher energy state.  Something that he could go to that was louder than the loudest, for when “10” wouldn’t do.  His amplifier goes up to “11.” And he needs it for that special moment in the song “Hell Hole,” I guess.

Philip Moriarty is the guest for this episode of Ikonokast.  The interview is a wide-ranging tour of education in the US and the UK, where Professor Moriarty teaches physics and is delighted on the first day of term to see all of the t-shirts with the names of metal bands, as the students file into class.

Moriarty and the Molecules

Music depends on waves.  Wave functions depend on, um, waves, too.  So music and quantum physics are naturally related in form, if not always function.  The humanities and science are not so easily separated.  In Moriarty’s book and in this podcast the two are firmly forged.


A selection if things mentioned in the podcast:

Giants of the Infinitesimal

Get me off Your Bleeping Mailing List (Peer reviewed PDF)

Pub Peer

The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tim Nichols

Something about Carlo Rovelli

The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day by James Kakalios.


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