Higgs Boson, the Musical: CERN Data Turned into Melody

When researchers at CERN announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson this summer, Domenico Vicinanza, a professional composer and particle physicist at DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) took the Higgs research data and turned it into a melody. He explained how he did it to PRI’s The World:

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…. 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…. 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.

Back in 2009, Vicinanza originally caught our attention when he and the ‘Lost Sounds Orchestra‘ gave a unique performance, playing ancient instruments live in Stockholm while the audience watched dancers perform some 7,000 miles away in Kuala Lumpur on an ultra-fast display screen. You can catch scenes from that performance right here.

Related Content:

The Higgs Boson and Its Discovery Explained with Animation

Demystifying the Higgs Boson with Leonard Susskind, the Father of String Theory


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