The Universe on a Stratocaster

There are those who believe that music brings meaning to an uncaring universe. It’s only natural, then, to try to capture the essence of reality on a musical instrument.

Sadly, the true essence of reality remains unknown. But we are able to sum up the physics underlying the world of everyday experience in a single equation. So mathematician Nicholas Hoell did the obvious thing — or at least, what should be obvious — and painted that equation on his Stratocaster. (Click to embiggen.)

Guitar_pic

Note the depiction of a few complex arrangements of the underlying reductionistic constituents, providing a nod to the importance of emergent phenomena in encompassing a complete view of the world.

I’m pretty sure that the perfect solo, played on this guitar, would reveal how to quantize gravity.

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8 Responses to The Universe on a Stratocaster

  1. Lady Atheist says:

    But a Gibson speaks for itself!

  2. Claudio says:

    Hi Mr. Carroll, I’m an italian Telecommunication engineering student and I got fascinated by the look of that equation. Sadly I really don’t know what it means ): is it possible to have a post where you explain the structure of the equation and the general meaning of each variable? Or maybe some relatively easy to read source about it
    Thank you a lot

  3. Sean Carroll says:

    Claudio– That’s a big project … maybe at some point.

  4. Tony Rz says:

    Lady Atheist, does not believing in God justify using course language on your web site. I would hope and believe Atheists can speak without cursing.

  5. Sean. This sentence of yours is beautiful:-

    “Note the depiction of a few complex arrangements of the underlying reductionistic constituents, providing a nod to the importance of emergent phenomena in encompassing a complete view of the world”

    It’s very musical ~ on the road to Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado if parsed correctly 🙂

  6. Roland Chiasson says:

    Dear sir, I would like to send you an email and get an answer on the included question … how to proceed, please? not sure if it would be proper here in this forum … it is not personal but it is not in the form of a comment … thank you.

  7. dmck says:

    That is pretty cool (spoken as a fan of cosmology and former caster of strats). My stratocaster was stolen from my Berkeley hippie apartment years ago. If I’d only thought to paint that equation on it the thief might have been spooked and I’d still have the guitar.