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Sonification enables world to hear new Higgs Boson-like particle

10 July 2012 | Cambridge, UK

Discovery now music to the ears of everybody!

Through a combination of high speed research networks, advanced sonification techniques and grid computing the world can now ‘hear’ the newly discovered Higgs Boson-like particle.

Research networks, including the pan-European GÉANT network, were critical components in the global infrastructure that helped find the new particle, delivering immense volumes of experimental data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to thousands of scientists around the world for analysis and then providing the connectivity for them to share their results amongst the entire research community.

On Wednesday 4th July 2012, scientists at CERN announced that they had found a Higgs-like particle after analysing results from the Large Hadron Collider. Researchers detected a "bump" in their data corresponding to a particle weighing in at 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), consistent with the Higgs Boson, which is believed to give mass to all other particles. This consequently proves the Standard Model, which is the dominant theory of how the universe works at the subatomic level.

See also: Research networks help LHC unlock the mysteries of the universe

Building on this achievement, the same research networks have now been a central part of turning these scientific findings into music using data sonification. Working from results supplied by the Atlas experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), researchers have created melodies that make the results easier to understand.


Domenico Vicinanza, DANTE

Sonification requires enormous amounts of networking and processing power to produce results. Creating the Higgs melody consequently relied on high-speed research networks including the pan-European GÉANT network, which operates at speed of up to 10Gbps and the EGI grid computing infrastructure. Grid computing works by linking together multiple computers in different locations via high speed networks, combining their processing power to deliver faster results when analysing enormous volumes of data.

The project was coordinated by Domenico Vicinanza of DANTE (the UK-based organisation that operates the GÉANT network on behalf of European national research and education networks (NRENs)), in collaboration with Mariapaola Sorrentino of ASTRA Project, Cambridge, who contributed to the sonification process and Giuseppe La Rocca from INFN Catania, responsible for the computing framework.

In the music the peak of high notes in the second bar is the appearance of the Higgs-like particle (about 3.5 seconds into the recording). The researchers created two versions, one as a piano solo, and the second with added bass, percussion, marimba and xylophone.

“The discovery of the Higgs-like particle is a major step forward in our knowledge of the world around us,” said Domenico Vicinanza, DANTE. “By using sonification we are able to make this breakthrough easier to understand by the general public, highlighting the depth and breadth of the enormous research efforts by the thousands of scientists around the world involved with the Large Hadron Collider. Neither the discovery of the particle or this sonification process would have been possible without the high speed research networks that connect scientists across the world, enabling them to collaborate, analyse data and share their results.”

Previous sonification projects from the team include the creation of music from volcanic activity around the world, making it easier to spot potential eruptions by listening to changes in musical pitch.

Click on the links below to listen to the Higgs Boson-like particle:
Piano solo
Piano, bass, percussion, marimba and xylophone
The data on which the sonification is based (ATLAS collaboration – copyright CERN)
The score of the sonification (PDF)  

For more information, see:
Research networks help LHC unlock the mysteries of the universe


  

See also

Click on the links below to listen to the Higgs Boson-like particle:
Piano solo
Piano, bass, percussion, marimba and xylophone
The data on which the sonification is based (ATLAS collaboration – copyright CERN)
The score of the sonification (PDF)  


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