Math in the News
The Apples in Stereo Frontman Goes Back to School
Robert Schneider—The Apples in Stereo bandleader, Elephant 6 co-founder, and influential record producer/engineer (Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, Beulah)—enters the PhD program in Mathematics at Emory University, to study under number theorist Ken Ono.
Schneider talks with Jim Tattersall at MAA MathFest 2007.
According to The Apples in Stereo, Schneider obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kentucky in May, having studied mathematics for a number of years while simultaneously producing ambitious indie records and touring the world. In recent years he has devised a “Non-Pythagorean” musical scale based on logarithms used on The Apples in stereo albums New Magnetic Wonder (2007) and Travellers in Space and Time (2010), composed a score based on prime numbers for a stage play by mathematician Andrew Granville (article), experimented with a mind-controlled synthesizer of his own invention, created a board game Al-Jabar based on group theory with fellow UK student Cyrus Hettle, spoken at numerous mathematics conferences and universities, and engaged in other math and science related projects.
“I realized the beauty of mathematics in my studio while repairing a sixteen-track tape machine, with schematic diagrams spread around me on the floor,” said Schneider. “I came across Ohm’s Law in a book on electronics, the equation that describes the flow of electricity in circuits, and it blew my mind. Somehow, this simple equation was responsible for the things I found most magical in life—electric guitars, analog synthesizers, stereophonic sound and the joy of making music with my friends.”