Yes, You *Can* Hear the Music of the Higgs

While it seems unlikely that papers will soon come as .mp3 files with audio infographics, some are still working on hearing things we usually expect to see.

At least one physicist was converting Large Hadron Collider data into music before the existence of the Higgs boson was officially confirmed earlier this year.  Three scientists (one is also a composer) have converted Higgs boson data into music.  It apparently is Cuban, as the rhythm most closely resembles habanera.

The idea is to match energy levels found in the data with particular notes.  That way shifts in energy can be more immediately expressed as shifts in tone.  The Higgs boson peaks out of the background noise – noise that isn’t really noise from a musical perspective.

You can hear the Higgs as a solo piano piece, or a small chamber piece (with extra instruments).  Credit to the ATLAS lab at CERN (where the Large Hadron Collider is located) for continuing their science influenced musical work.

While some may be waiting for a Higgs bassoon piece, I’m interested in trying to use these techniques for educational purposes.  I know a challenge right now is in finding the dedicated processing time to convert this information into sound, but for those who have an easier time detecting patterns in audio rather than printed data, this could be a very productive development.  Researchers facing a sticking point could benefit by switching from one form of perception to another, and so could students trying to learn challenging material or establish good research practice.


4 thoughts on “Yes, You *Can* Hear the Music of the Higgs

  1. Pingback: Science Music Corner, Accelerator Edition « Pasco Phronesis

  2. Pingback: Playing and singing the Higgs Boson « FrogHeart

  3. Pingback: Sounds Science: Research Results For The Visually Challenged | Pasco Phronesis

  4. Pingback: A Cosmic Ray Duet…In Space | Pasco Phronesis

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