A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Listening for the sound of science

04/18/12
Particle Track Music

Image: Domenico Vicinanza

Ever wonder what physics sounds like? In today’s physics laboratories, the answer is usually the hum of electronics and machinery. For composer and network engineer Domenico Vicinanza, however, the answer is a little more melodic. Vicinanza recently created a musical score that mimics the tracks of subatomic particles. The publication International Science Grid this Week described Vicinanza's project in a recent article:

Vicinanza has delved into the sub-atomic realm and is creating a musical score from the particle tracks made within bubble chambers and Wilson cloud chambers. Bubble and cloud chambers—ancestors of the more sophisticated silicon particle detectors used by colliders such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN—are sealed metallic vessels filled with superheated liquids or vapors to detect electrically charged particles passing through them.

This new process involves drawing the bubble or cloud chamber particle tracks directly onto music sheets. Each track contour will provide a path for musical notes to be overlaid upon. Then, he will write the melodies and program customized software to harmonize the tracks in an automated way.

Read the full article -- and listen to the music -- in “The smallest music in the universe.”

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