For over one hundred and fifty years the concept of recording musical sounds so that they could be played back at a later time has captivated scientists and engineers. We trace this history, starting from the first experiments with a pen tracing a wave on a smokey drum to the modern world where all of our music resides ephemerally in the cloud as a collection of ones and zeros.


Lawrence Anderson earned a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University and spent most of his career at what was then AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he was involved in some of the first experimental applications of lasers. He headed the group that designed optical components for the first fiber optic transatlantic cable. He lectured for many years on technical subjects for the Institute for LifeLong Learning for New Mexicans.