Published: 3 March 2023 at 10:17
Data sonification expert has US premiere for music based on NASA readings
A scientist from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) will premiere a new piece of music at the SXSW EDU festival that has been created using data beamed back to Earth from interstellar space.
On Thursday, 9 March, Dr Domenico Vicinanza will be joined on stage in Austin, Texas, by Dr Alyssa Schwartz, Visiting Assistant Professor of Flute and Musicology at Fairmont State University, to perform music shaped by scientific readings collected by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft.
Dr Vicinanza, a Senior Lecturer in ARU’s School of Computing and Information Science, is a leading expert in data sonification, which is a process of converting scientific measurements into sound. As well as producing music, data sonification has a range of practical uses including medical diagnostics and big data mining.
In addition to his collaborations with NASA, Dr Vicinanza has also used data sonification to produce music for the BBC, Yellowstone National Park, and CERN, the home of the Large Hadron Collider.
His SXSW EDU event will include a world premiere of a piece for solo flute that has been created using data from the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which has a suite of antennas and instruments to record plasma waves, which are caused by particles vibrating in space, and then send the readings back to Earth.
Voyager 1 is the first manmade object to leave our solar system, and so this is the first time that interstellar plasma waves have been recorded. Dr Vicinanza’s piece has turned this plasma data into music to chart Voyager 1’s journey from inside the solar system, across the heliopause, which is the transition region between inside and outside the Sun’s area of influence, and into interstellar space.
Dr Vicinanza, who in addition to his role at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is also the coordinator for arts and humanities for the European network GÉANT, said:
The SXSW EDU Conference and Festival is taking place in Austin, Texas, from 6-9 March. For more information, visit https://schedule.sxswedu.com/