The CERN lab in Geneva, Switzerland, has been alight the past few weeks with news of the Higgs boson, which has captivated and confused millions of people around the world. Little attention has been given to the artistic side of this scientific discovery, though. In order to comb through all the data that amasses at a particle collider, analysts frequently turn to visualization and sonification methods. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Having just experienced Dyad for the first time last week, I see an uncanny resemblance between the game and this visualization of colliding protons from the ATLAS experiment. Moreover, sonified data from the imaginative LHC Sound project is also strangely reminiscent of David Kanaga‘s minimalist compositions:
Experimental and theoretical particle physicists Lily Asquith and Michael Krämer, in addition to their regular research and teaching duties, have been collaborating with musicians this year on a special project to take the data from some of the quadrillions of proton collisions going on in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and mapping those data sets to sound. Not only are the researchers hoping to hear patterns in the data; they also want to share their passion for exploration and discovery with creative individuals outside of physics.
This initiative is part of CERN’s ongoing collaboration with artists, including an art residency program at the lab.