20 years ago in Chemistry in Britain

An evening of music composed by chemists was presented by Leicester University in conjunction with the East Midlands Section of the RSC. The event included the world premier performance of Votocek’s Serenade for horn and string quartet. The Czechoslovakian composer’s unperformed pencil written score of the serenade was brought over from Prague and performed by UNI-PART (left). Elgar’s Serenade for strings  and Borodin’s String quartet no 2  completed the evening’s entertainment. 


Playing chemical music in 1991

(Chemistry in Britain, February 1991). 

Ed. Apart from Votocek, Borodin and Elgar (an amateur chemist), there have been a number of chemist composers, eg Elaine Bearer, George Berg, Carlo Botteghi, Lejaren Hiller and Georges Urbain. For more information on chemist composers see website.

Mahadev Kumbar of Nassau Community College, Garden City, US, has published several papers in which he explores musical aspects of chemical reactions - he works from rate equations which he converts using a Fourier transform algorithm into frequency and amplitude information, which is then converted into musical notes. For more information and the opportunity to listen to chemical reactions see Chem. Eng. News, 2006, 84, 98; J. Chem. Educ., 2007, 84, 1933. 

For more on music and chemistry, see S Alvarez ’Music of the elements’ (New J. Chem., 2008, 32, 571) and our own Last Retort (Chemistry World, March 2009, p84). And of course listen to Tom Lehrer song ’The Elements’ with animations on website.