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Five Physicists Who Were Musically Gifted

Sep 20, 2020 1 comments

Even though physics and music are two wildly separate fields...what is life without both of them? Without physics, there is no chemistry or biology, or that which we call living. Whereas, without music, the living cannot so eloquently express feelings such as joy, heartbreak, hope and so on.

Richard Feynman

This was a man full of life...He was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics. Even at old age, Feynman did not stop performing his famous "orange juice" song.

Albert Einstein

He had once said: "Life without playing music is inconceivable for me. I live my daydreams in music, I see my life in terms of music. If I were not a physicist I would probably be a musician. I get most joy in life out of my violin."

albert einstein violin player

His mother, Pauline, played the piano reasonably well and she wanted her son to learn the violin, not only to make him fall in love with music but also to help him assimilate into German culture.

Max Planck

He was a German physicist who is known for proposing Quantum theory in 1901. Planck was a father figure to Einstein yet they both played music as if members of a western classical band.

max planck piano music physics

Planck was gifted when it came to music. He took singing lessons and played organ, piano and cello, and composed his own songs. However, instead of music, Planck chose physics for a career.

S.N. Bose

He was an Indian physicist and polymath who is known for having collaborated with Albert Einstein on his original work which came to be called Bose-Einstein statistics.

satyendra nath bose music esraj

Satyendra Nath Bose was gifted at playing Esraj, an Indian stringed instrument, similar to violin. He used to perform for his students and colleagues in Calcutta and Dhaka universities.

Werner Heisenberg

He was a German physicist known for uncertainty principle, one of the cornerstones of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg was highly interested in music and played together with Albert Einstein if Max Planck called it off.

werner heisenberg piano

He started reading sheet music at the age of four! However, as Heisenberg grew older, his love for science outgrew his passion for music, despite which, music remained a lifelong hobby of his.


  1. We may add to the above list Dr. Raja Ramanna, Indian Physist of IIT & BARC Department of Atomic Energy, Govt of India.

    Raja Ramanna (28 January 1925 – 24 September 2004) was an Indian physicist who is best known for his role in India's nuclear program during its early stages.
    Having joined the nuclear program in 1964, Ramanna worked under Homi Jehangir Bhabha, and later became the director of this program in 1967. Ramanna expanded and supervised scientific research on nuclear weapons and was the first directing officer of the small team of scientists that supervised and carried out the test of the nuclear device, under the codename Smiling Buddha, in 1974.
    Ramanna was associated with and directed India's nuclear program for more than four decades, and also initiated industrial defence programmes for the Indian Armed Forces. He was a recipient of Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian decoration, in honour of his services to build India's nuclear programme. Ramanna died in Mumbai in 2004 at the age of 79.

    A multi-faceted personality, Ramanna was a gifted musician, and could play the piano as dextrously as he could speak about atomic energy. Music was close to his heart, and one of the two books he wrote was The Structure of Music in Raga And Western Systems (1993). The other was his autobiography, entitled Years of Pilgrimage (1991).

    Dr. T. R. Baggi


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