What Plato, Socrates, and Albert Einstein knew intuitively, Gordon Shaw set out to prove scientifically.

Most people will never really know the true impact of Gordon's work…

Music Makes You Smarter, The Mozart Effect, Baby Mozart products, Zell Miller's CD's for Every Newborn in Georgia, Johnson and Johnson's CD for young children, VH1's Save The Music campaign and theme "Music Education Equals Brain Power", Newsweek cover stories, national radio, television and newspaper stories, cultural references, a Simpson Episode, The various advocacy efforts claiming connections between music and improved , often times for better (and sometimes for worse) … all of these efforts, and many more track their beginnings to the "Brain Power" of one man, Dr. Gordon Shaw.

More thoughts on his life, his work and his legacy after I let this news settle in.

The Obit after the jump

The Orange County Register

A founding member of the university's faculty, Shaw was known for the "Mozzart Effect," his claim that listening to classical music could increase math scores.

LAGUNA BEACH – Gordon Shaw, a physicist and founding member of the UC Irvine faculty who generated considerable debate when he claimed that listening to classical music could help students perform better on math tests, has died. He was 72.

Shaw died of kidney cancer this morning, said UCI physicist Myron Bander, a longtime friend.

The Cornell-trained Shaw joined the UCI faculty in 1965, the year the campus opened, and helped found the physics department, which then had fewer than 10 professors. It has about 40 today.

Shaw – who studied under the famed physicist Hans Bethe – spent the early part of his career in elementary particle physics. Then he shifted to biophysics, where most of his work has involved memory, music and learning.

He caused a stir in 1993 with research that purported to show that a small group of college students briefly improved their spatial-temporal reasoning – a key to math – by listening to the first 10 minutes of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major. This became known as the "Mozart Effect" and was widely debated in academia.

Shaw is survived by his wife, Lorna, and three children.

While Dr. Shaw is most known for his work on "The Mozart Effect" his pioneering work to document the impact of music on brain development has changed how we think about music and music education, and spurred on the current field of research to scientifically quantify the impact of arts education. What Plato, Socrates, and Albert Einstein knew intuitively, Gordon Shaw set out to prove scientifically.

His contributions to the field and the impact of his and his colleagues research efforts have saved thousands of music education programs for a large number of children and have been cited by everyone from President Clinton – to the halls of congress – presented to a worldwide Grammy Audience – and used by music and arts education advocates before local school boards around the country.

Over the next few days we will be culling our archives to share some Gordon Shaw stories to illuminate his unique genius and immense contributions to the field. If you have your own Gordon Shaw story, please send it to us, and we will post these on the Music for All website.

From his foundation:

MIND Institute Co-Founder, UCI Professor Emeritus, Visionary Scientist Dr. Gordon Shaw

The New York Times > Education > Gordon Shaw Dies at 72; Tied I.Q. to Hearing Mozart

Leave a Reply