Musical Compositions Inspired by Chemical Elements

Eusebio Juaristi and Héctor Rasgado-Flores join their talents to capture the essence of 14 chemical elements
Photo: Germán Espinosa/EL UNIVERSAL
José Pablo Espíndola
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In order to bring science closer to people, the idea of writing a musical piece dedicated to chemical elements based on The Planets, Op. 32, a seven-movement orchestral suite by Gustav Holst, emerged. Chemist Eusebio Juaristi decided to look for a composer capable of capturing the essence of 14 chemical elements and to transform them into musical compositions. Héctor Rasgado-Flores, scientist and composer, was the chosen one.

Juaristi and Rasgado-Flores joined their chemical and musical knowledge to write the book Elements SUITe (SUITe de los elementos), edited by The College of Mexico (COLMEX).

Each of the compositions portrays the special characteristics of the elements. “For instance, one piece is dedicated to Francium (Fr), a very unstable element that we can not characterize at all since it starts to transform into something else, therefore the musical composition that corresponds to Francium is very brief due to its ephemeral nature. Other elements such as Calcium (Ca) that interact on a biological level inspired another style; Mercury (Hg) is a ductile element and that was what we tried to portray in its musical composition”, explained Juaristi.

The key idea of the book is to bring people closer to chemistry and set aside the bad reputation that science has, according to Juaristi. “Some people believe that chemistry has negative effects, for example, that some elements are toxic or that some chemical reactions are dangerous, therefore, I believe that works such as this, that bring together chemistry and music, show the agreeable and attractive aspect that can modify the image that young people have of chemistry”, said the researcher.

To him, it is really important that people understand that everything that surrounds us is chemistry and that 99% of its applications are beneficial to humanity.

Elements SUITe was presented on June 23 in the COLMEX, in Southern Mexico City. 



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