Marin Mersenne Essay

Marin Mersenne Essay-56
June 28 is a perfect date because 6 and 28 are both perfect numbers, numbers whose divisors add up to themselves.The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are the three divisors of 6 (other than 6 itself) and 1 2 3=6. Euclid’s -1, the numbers that generate these perfect numbers, are called Mersenne primes after the 17th-century French priest and math enthusiast Marin Mersenne.

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As a rule, European scholars prior to the nineteenth century were preoccupied with the big picture.

And, even as music history became the dominant focal point, scholars continued to ponder the larger cognitive and spiritual aspects (see my edited collections, The Value of Sacred Music: An Anthology of Essential Writings, 1801-1918 and Music, Theology and Worship: Selected Writings, 1841-1896).

Almost all of the largest known prime numbers are Mersenne primes because they’re easier to find than other primes.

Euclid knew that every Mersenne prime gave us an even perfect number, but it also goes the other way: all even perfect numbers must come from Mersenne primes.

Descartes failed to meet any of the alleged Rosicrucians but he was rumoured to have become one of their members when he returned to Paris in 1623, the year of the great Rosicrucian Craze that was to engross some of the best French minds for several months.

Baillet says that Descartes had no difficulty in proving that he was not a Rosicrucian but the accusation stuck and was occasionally revived during his lifetime and after.The family were left in the care of Thomas Senior’s wealthy brother Francis, who funded Hobbes’ education at the University of Oxford. Hobbes became a companion to the young William and in 1614 the two embarked on a Grand Tour of the continent.Hobbes’ role as tutor gave him opportunity to revive his study of Greek, Roman and English historians and Greek and Latin poets.Guido Adler laid the groundwork for this interdisciplinary approach with his 1885 essay, “Umfang, Methode und Ziel der Musikwissenschaft” (“Scope, Method, and Aim of Musicology”), which divides musicology into historical questions about the development of musical conventions and the succession of “great” composers, and systematic questions about the nature of music and human responses to it.Today, systematic musicology is itself divided into two areas: empirical/scientific and social/cultural. Bach (1802) set the tone for the field, which focuses on musical rules, periods, pieces, and personalities.Systematic musicology has an especially modern feel, with its interest in acoustics, neuroscience, psychology, and social theory.Systematic musicology has benefited from the growing sophistication of the diverse disciplines it draws upon.Yet, underneath its contemporary garb are questions that have attracted thinkers throughout the ages: What is music, how does music work, why does music move us? Hobbes was born prematurely due to his mother’s fright at reports of the approach of the Spanish Armada.Hobbes’ father abandoned his wife, Thomas and his two siblings when Hobbes was in his teens, having been forced to flee to London after being involved in a fight with a clergyman outside his church. After university, Hobbes took a position with William Cavendish, Baron Hardwick, to tutor his son, also named William, who was just two years younger than Hobbes.


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