Manjul Bhargava: An Artist of Music and Math

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Number theorist Manjul Bhargava is also a master of tabla.

Number theorist Manjul Bhargava is also a tabla master. Rebecca Davis, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Rebecca Davis, NPR

At 28, Manjul Bhargava has already won a coveted full professorship at Princeton University. An expert in number theory, the study of the properties and relationships of numbers, Bhargava is also a master of the tabla, a small Indian hand drum used to create music with rhythmic, precise patterns.

Number theory is the type of math that describes the swirl in the head of a sunflower and the curve of a chambered nautilus. Bhargava says it's also hidden in the rhythms of classical Indian music, which is both mathematical and improvisational. He sees close links between his two loves — both create beauty and elegance by weaving together seemingly unconnected ideas.

Listen: Hear Bhargava Play the Tabla

Listen: Bhargava on Number Theory and Its Links to Poetry, Visual Art and 'The Da Vinci Code'

As part of a Morning Edition series exploring the intersection of art and science, NPR's Richard Harris reports on the beauty of mathematics, its ties to art — and the man who straddles both worlds.

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