Finding Beethoven on Coursera


Aug 2017

Summer time is great. Time for reading, time for discoveries, time to reflect. It is also good to look at the bigger picture of physics, software or music. Here are some books that I touched:

  • “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”: This book is about the history of BlackBerry. One of the company’s founder Mike Lazaridis had access to an early version of Mobitex - the predecessors of wireless data networks. The book is a very good overview about the beginnings and developments of mobile data networks in the 90ies (For example paging, Motorola, Palm, US Robotics, … ). The history of BlackBerry also shows the impact of data networks on the evolution of mobile devices.

  • “Joseph Fourier by Joseph Arago”: For electronic communication, we look at signals in two different ways: In “time-domain” or “frequency-domain”. The mathematical foundations for these perspectives were discovered by Joseph Fourier. With this book, I hoped to learn more on the origins of the mathematics of signal processing. Interestingly, not much of mathematics were discussed in the book by Joseph Arago. Instead, it was surprising that Fourier traveled to Egypt and reflected about the mechanisms of heat for some years. Prbobably triggered by the look of the desert, he started discovering the “greenhouse effect” in 1824 (e.g. see Scientific Americam ).

  • “Tools of the Titans”: I discovered this book by Tim Ferris because it is on the NYTimes bestseller’s list 2017. Also, I’ve heard about Tim Ferris before. Ferris’ based this book on Ben Franklin’s quote: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” So, the book indeed makes you aware that extreme characters wake up earlier, focus better and tolerate more their weaknesses (and use them wisely). The book is also interesting with respect to creative writing and probably my motivation for this blog post.

Well, I started some more books and other things. But right now, I am most fascinated by some courses on Coursera, esp. the Beethoven Sonata Lecture by Jonathan Bliss. there are so many interesting puzzles and ideas in classical music. And audio is full of mathematics too, as well as circuits and hardware, as well as software (and a bit of Fourier analysis).

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