The Sound of Physics

A photograph featuring an electric guitar player and the music score of the Higgs "sonification" by the rock band, Traq.LOUD!!!

Should you ever have wondered what the Higgs boson sounds like…  It’s…  “AS LOUD AS A RIFF BY JOE SATRIANI.  WHAT?!  IT’S AS LOUD… AS A…”  Oh, wait!!  Here it is.

Most of you have for too long been wondering what the Higgs boson would sound like if it were a heavy-metal song.  Oh, go on!  I bet YOU have…  Well now…  You need wonder no longer.  Turn it up to 11 (TeV) with CERN physicist and guitarist Piotr Traczyk who “sonified” data from two plots from the CMS experiment that were presented at the Higgs discovery seminar on 4th July 2012!  Physicists just don’t quit, do they?

This heavy-metal ditty is based on gamma-gamma and 4-lepton data from CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and after you listen to his excellent song in the video, you can find out more about how it was created by reading Traczyk’s excellent entry on the Cylindrical Onion blog.



For those who like music to be a bit more mellow…


LHChamber Music

Last year, Traczyk was part of the team that made a video for CERN’s 60th Anniversary called “LHChamber music”.  It was a performance of a piece composed by Domenico Vicinanza and performed by LHC physicists and engineers in the experimental caverns.

The musical piece was based on a “sonification” of the data collected from the four LHC detectors, transforming data into musical notes using some relationship chosen by the composer, representing the data as sound instead of the plots and graphs that physicists are used to.  Experimental data were mapped to a major scale and arranged such that they could be all played simultaneously in harmony, as a metaphor of scientific collaboration.



What would the Higgs boson sound like if CERN was a heavy metal band?

Soon after that, Piotr Traczyk had the idea of taking some CMS experimental data plots and make a short musical piece that would “play” the plots:

I decided to take two plots from the Higgs discovery seminar of 4 July 2012: the Higgs-search mass plots in the gamma-gamma and 4-lepton channels.  They both have about 20 bins in the histograms, so taking the first 16 bins and assigning each bin to a sixteenth note I could have a single bar of music representing each plot.  Or two bars if I use eighth notes, and so on. The way I created the melodies is more apparent in the case of the 4-lepton plot

A picture of the music sheet titled: Higgs Boson $ ($ATLAS Preliminary data$ )$

All this is making me want to find out more about the Higgs boson, and I definitely want to find out the brand of his hair conditioner.  Because…  Wow!