NPR takes us on an audio tour of the Large Hadron Collider with a physicist who’s translating subatomic particles into sounds:
“I have some musician friends that I was talking to about physics, which I do a lot, if people will let me, and I was doing impersonations of particles — as you do — or maybe not,” Lily Asquith says with a laugh. She is a physicist who until recently worked with the LHC at CERN….
So Asquith was trying to figure out a new way to understand and sort through all of this data. The LHC currently produces colorful images as an output from the data — sprays of particles in different directions.
She thought about a heart monitor in a hospital; it turns the electrical data from your heart into sound.
“You don’t have to watch the monitor because you can hear it without making any effort,” she says. “Just a steady beep — you can quite easily detect if it starts going quicker or if it stops even for a second.”
She wondered what would happen if she used music composition software to turn data from the collider into sound. So she fed in a sample of the LHC data — three columns of numbers.
Sound samples at the link.