Last week's discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle set the internet ablaze with discussion and debate, but as with most scientific discoveries, there are some who are having a hard time understanding what it all means. After all, not everyone has advanced degrees in physics. In an attempt to make the significance of the discovery easier for people to comprehend, a group of scientists have taken CERN's preliminary ATLAS data that revealed this Higgs-like particle and set it to music.
The piece of music you see above is the end result of that sonification, a 12 second-long piano solo. See that trio of really high notes there in the second measure? That's the particle itself, and when listening to the solo, it's pretty easy to pick out (listen for it around 3.5 seconds into the recording). DANTE's Domenico Vicinanza, one of the scientists responsible for the sonification, explained today why this process is important:
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.
If you're in the mood for something a little more substantial, the team also created a longer track that features bass, marimba, xylophone, and percussion alongside the piano part. Both versions are excellent, but then again, we're just surprised that scientific data is capable of sounding so good to begin with.