Wednesday 7 December 2016

Searching for the 'voice of God' in the heart of rock'n'roll

Published 03/09/2014 | 02:30

Johnny Winter died in a hotel room in Zurich
Johnny Winter died in a hotel room in Zurich

I had the great pleasure last week to visit the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, to address a small international symposium of scientists on the subject of rock 'n' roll.

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San Marino is the oldest surviving constitutional republic in the world, a tiny state of some 30,000 citizens, surrounded by Italy, slightly inland of the north-east Adriatic coast. Its capital, also San Marino, is a walled town with the external appearance of a castle, set in the most spectacular of countrysides. It has no national debt and one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. Its economy depends on tourism and financial services and it has one of the highest GDP per capita rates in the world.

The invitation came from some friends among a group of Italian scientists, who every summer invite some of the most eminent of their peers from the international scientific community to come to San Marino and talk about their work. They expressed a particular interest in the nature of the creative process as explained by artists in the medium of pop and rock 'n' roll, and the potential for comparison between such approaches and the scientific method.

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