Friday, November 16, 2012

Music about Radioactivity: Radioactive Orchestra

adafruit industries blog

Using models from collaborating nuclear physicists, on how specific isotopes emit gamma radiation, media artist Kristofer Hagbard created an algorithm to translate this to music, and Axel Boman created songs based on melodies and sounds from the software Via the project webste:

The musical and artistic ambitions is about exploring a world that is not available to our senses and finding musically interesting pattens and to render them in a way that both resonates with popular culture while staying close to the subject matter.

The pedagogical aspect aims to inspire young people to learn about the natural sciences by making one of its most hidden phenomenas available in a new way and exposing complexity and beauty in the strange world of the atomic nuclei – using music.

I love the idea of making the ever-present though always changing ambient radiation audible and something we can sense. The physicists make the point that the general public tends to think ionizing radiation, these strong photons emitted, are unnatural, or something only associated with nuclear technology, when in fact, radiation is everywhere. Our Earth is filled with radioactivity and even our own bodies emit some radiation. By translating the frequencies of photos emitted by any given isotope to cascades of musical frequencies (or pitches) not only are they providing a means to think about this unsensed presence, but something lovely to listen to as well.

You can play with the software too, creating music from you favorite isotopes! It even allows you to export the music you create.

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