Domenico Vicinanza is a particle physicist and a composer. As such, he has written a song whose notes are defined by the data points drawn from the research around the Higgs boson, likely discovered last week by scientists at the European nuclear research facility, CERN, in Switzerland. Domenico Vicinanza tells us how he did it.
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Lisa Mullins: Last week researchers at CERN, the nuclear research facility in Switzerland, unveiled Higgs Boson, a subatomic particle. Well this week researchers in Cambridge, England unveiled Higgs Boson, the musical, sort of. Higgs Boson is the particle that supposedly gives everything in the universe its mass. Since the announcement last week, a researcher named Domenico Vicinanza and his team in Cambridge, England have sonified it. Vicinanza works with DANTE or Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe. He is a particle physicist and a professional composer, so who better to convert Higgs Boson to a melody. Here’s how he says he did it.
Domenico Vicinanza: In order to take a subatomic particle like the Higgs Boson and convert it into a melody, to notes, what we do is basically take the data and associate with each one of the numeric values a single note on a score. Melody is following basically exactly the same behavior the scientific data is showing. So when the piano starts playing, you can hear some really really high pitched notes. Those high pitched notes, there are three of them particularly, if you can listen carefully. They are the signature of the Higgs Boson melody and they are corresponding to a peak in the scientific draft research has shown at CERN. The actual data points are only the one played by the piano at the beginning and then played by piano and marimba in the second repetition. So the marimba was playing the lower notes and the piano was playing the higher notes. So it sounds like a Cuban Habanera but this is classical insidence. Most of the analysis techniques we have today are mostly visual and this is actually preventing all the visually impaired and blind people to work on the analysis. I believe that music and science they share the same quest for harmony, for symmetry, for regularity if you like. I thoroughly believe that science can offer musicians a wonderful way to look for interesting melodies, interesting harmonies, interesting sonic phenomena. They can be taken and be used by composers to create some real entertainment.
Mullins: Higgs Boson the musical, physicist and composer Domenico Vicinanza sonified the Higgs Boson particle.
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