LHC Lecture/Paper – 2013


by Michael Rhoades

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Figure 1. CD/DVD – Image by Sylvia Pengilly


We as human beings are on the verge of a major paradigm shift in the way we perceive our environment and our lives. Science, in the form of Astrophysics as well as Quantum Physics, is beginning to show us that the world we experience in a linear manner is much broader than we think. From such notions as quantum entanglement, parallel universes, and photons that are everywhere at the same time until they are observed, and then appear static… we are seeing the beginning glimpses of a world that is non-linear. To be clear, this means we are talking about a multiverse, a multi-dimensional universe, in which time is not sequential and space is not contiguous. From this perspective, the earth is not flat… nor is it an orb but instead it is a multi-dimensional and constantly changing and undulating object… perhaps not unlike the Calabi-Yau shape we see in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2. Rendition of a potential Calabi-Yau shape.
Image by Jeff Bryant.

These discoveries, which are obviously not yet fully comprehended, are being researched in many settings world wide; one of the most notable being that of the Large Hadron Collider in CERN. Considering the life-altering implications of this work, it is not surprising that it is extremely inspiring to our creative minds.

The subject of this paper is a brief description of the processes involved in a recently completed project of mine titled “Hadronized Spectra (the LHC Sonifications),” which is based on data derived from proton collisions at the LHC. It consists of 5 compositions and is about an hour in length. The score for each composition was synthesized in part from data generated by the Atlas detector at the LHC. Specifically, the hadronization process, as set into motion by the physicists at the LHC, served as an “out of time sub-score” that generated the data from which the “in time” scores for this project were derived.

However, to quote Frank Zappa, “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” It is very difficult to communicate the creative processes involved in composing. We make thousands of split second decisions all along the path that eventually culminate as a finished composition. Further, the basis for these decisions is often primarily intuitive making them even less tangible. So I will delineate the procedural aspects of putting this project together in hopes of providing some insight, but please be aware that in doing so we are only scratching the surface of what actually took place. To counterbalance our inability to verbally communicate this, listening examples from parts of the project will be provided, which is where the rubber truly meets the road anyway. Listening tells the whole story. To that end, let’s begin by listening to the first movement of the first piece, which is titled “Emergence.”

Emergence - 1st Movement *     

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