Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bach on #PBS #NOVA #TheElegantUniverse

There's an untitled cello solo in Brian Greene's NOVA documentary on quantum physics string theory, "The Elegant Universe" the entire documentary:

and the pertinent scene in case the above link breaks:

I recognized the background music was Bach, but couldn't remember the title. At first I thought it was an homage to Douglas Hofstadter book "Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid" (when is that going to be turned into a NOVA series I wonder? Protest!) and was the Goldberg Variations (J.S. Bach BWV 988), as from Robert Speer's MIT notes on Chapter 13:

"13. Aria with Diverse Variations - This chapter refers extensively to the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), an extensive set of variations on an aria. The 30th and final variation is a straightforward statement of the theme called the Quodlibet, after which the variations continue on with a 'post-ending ending', the Finale."
and from ""
"Aria with Diverse Variations. A Dialogue whose form is based on Bach's Goldberg Variations, and whose content is related to number- theoretical problems such as the Goldbach conjecture. This  hybrid has as its main purpose to show how number theory's subtlety stems from the fact that there are many diverse variations on the theme of searching through an infinite space. Some of them lead to infinite searches, some of them lead to finite searches, while some others hover in between."

 but no, this is not the same piece of music:

After a few more clicks, I found that the NOVA strings documentary music was Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007, so now I can sleep soundly at night:

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