Key to Blur's Beagle tune

BEAGLE 2's call-sign, a "tune" composed by members of the Colchester band Blur, sounds like a simple arrangement of ascending notes.But there is more to it than that.

BEAGLE 2's call-sign, a "tune" composed by members of the Colchester band Blur, sounds like a simple arrangement of ascending notes.

But there is more to it than that. Bass guitarist Alex James explains that the nine-note scale was based on a "Fibonacci sequence' - a mathematical pattern that re-occurs throughout nature.

Fibonacci numbers are not random. In a Fibonacci series, each number is the sum of the previous two.

The sequence is as follows: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377 and so on.


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It's a pattern seen over and over again in nature. Examples include the spirals of sea shells, the petals of sunflowers and daises, the shape of pine cones, and the arrangement of leaves and branches on trees.

Alex said today: "We were given a lot less limitations doing Beagle 2 than you get in a standard music industry contract.

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"It didn't have to be catchy or anything. We decided to loosely base it on a Fibonacci sequence, where you start with one and keep adding the last two numbers.

"It's found all through nature, in things like the number of leaves on a tree. That was our inspiration, but don't ask me how it came about. It's a chaotic process, making music.

"I think it's just an appealing harmonic series.'

The tune is protected by copyright and included on the B-side of the Blur single, No Distance Left to Run.

Alex and fellow band member, drummer David Rowntree, were keen amateur astronomers at school and both have telescopes.

They were put in touch with Beagle 2's chief scientist, Professor Colin Pillinger, almost by accident.

"You basically get everything for free when you're in a band,' said Alex. "We called our accountant and said we wanted to start a space programme. The next thing we knew we were talking to Colin.'

He hoped to have helped inspire public interest in the Beagle 2 project, and science generally.

"Science has this massive image problem,' he said. "It just faces a massive sludge of apathy. You say 'we're going to Mars' and people say 'who is?', and you say 'no one, it's a funny thing like a barbecue that plays Blur records.

"This whole thing is going to make a great film. It's a brilliant story.'

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