Ludwig’s role in the development of the CD

Ever wondered why somethings end up looking like they do? You know, why do most bicycles have a diamond frame, why do cars have an accelerator, brake and clutch?

Well, a writer on Marginal Revolution has unearthed evidence of why the CD is 12cm in diameter, and it’s got nothing to do with the ability to be able to stick them to the front of the Sunday papers.

Beethoven painted by Joseph Karl Stieler
Crazy hair, crazy guy: Beethoven

Apparently it’s all to do with Ludwig Van Beethoven, the brilliant German composer, most famous for being profoundly deaf and having a hair cut that wouldn’t look out-of-place on Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future.

While the boffins were working on the new music format there was some debate over its size. The decision was taken to base it on fitting the longest piece of music on one disc. the electronics giant Sony chose Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. They chose one of the longest recordings – coming in at 74 minutes long – which equated to 12cm in diameter.

Read the full story in Marginal Revolution  here

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