Mendelssohn Salon 1828: Elliptic Functions, Kosmos and Beethoven

Free Public Lecture

Mendelssohn Salon 1828: Elliptic Functions, Kosmos and Beethoven

Wyselaskie Auditorium
Centre for Theology and Ministry
29 College Crescent


The salons of Abraham and Lea Mendelssohn were the focus of some of the greatest scientific and musical minds of the 1800s. Alexander von Humboldt, famous for his scientific findings from his voyage to the wild Americas, had set up a hut for measuring the earth's magnetic field in the Mendelssohn garden. In the previous year, Beethoven had died leaving a controversial musical legacy, while Abel and Jacobi created a mathematical revolution between 1827 and 1829 with the development of elliptic functions.

This lecture discusses and debates music and mathematics: the sounds of Beethoven, the elliptic orbits of the planets, and the thrill of the Kosmos.

Professor Arun Ram from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and pianist Michael Leslie from Germany's Richard Strauss Konservatorium, hope to recreate the passion and exuberance that were the hallmark of those legendary gatherings.


  • Professor Arun Ram
    Professor Arun Ram, University of Melbourne