"Sonified" data from the Large Hadron Collider offers some musical - and some not so musical - interpretations on the sound of the "God particle."
The recent discovery of a physics particle that may well be the Higgs boson - also known as the "God particle" - has sparked a lot of general interest in the subatomic particle and the role it plays in modern theoretical physics. The discovery has inspired everything from various compilations of top Higgs boson explanations to the best Higgs boson jokes.
Now, it seems, the particle has also been "sonified" - through a process that involved taking raw data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) where the particle was discovered, and converting it into sounds. In this case the process went even further and turned the results into music, complete with an available musical score and two performances - one solo piano and the other with added bass, percussion, marimba and xylophone (see below):
In the music the peak of high notes in the second bar is the appearance of the Higgs-like particle (about 3.5 seconds into the recording). (DANTE)
The above sonification - actually "musification" - appears to mostly reflect a fairly straightforward mapping of musical notes to the LHC data. It clearly represents quite a leap from what actually took place in the LHC, but certainly adds another perspective to such scientific data.
For a somewhat different - and less musical - take on what such data might "sound" like, the following video offers some previous (~2010) sonic simulations of data expected from collisions at the LHC:
In this case, researchers apparently assigned low pitches to energy that was closer and higher pitches to energy that was farther away. Also, the loudness of the sounds was tied to energy levels, with higher-energy events being louder.
The latter project involved no piano or marimba sounds. However a composer involved with the project was reportedly still struck by how musical the products of the collisions sounded and thought it reminded him of a lot of what he heard in "contemporary composition."
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