​CERN and GÉANT unveil ‘Music of Physics’ at Montreux Jazz Festival



16 July 2015 | Montreux, Switzerland


A project mapping physical parameters of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) proton collisions to sound parameters - thereby, creating music from particle events - captivated audiences last week, at the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival.


A collaboration between three scientists: the sparkling sound of proton colliders was brought to life with improvised accompaniment from famous jazz pianist, Al Blatter, who played a duet with the live data.


The team behind the collaboration comprised:

  • Juliana Cherston of the Responsive Environments group at the MIT Media Lab in the US - who came up with the idea of the interactive platform to take data from CERN to be sonified;
  • Domenico Vicinanza of Anglia Ruskin University in the UK and GÉANT - who worked on the sonification, and mapping between physics and the music event;
  • Ewan Hill of the University of Victoria in Canada, TRIUMF, and the ATLAS Experiment at CERN - who supervised the physics part and contributed to the development of the platform.


From left to right: Domenico Vicinanza, Ewan Hill, Juliana Cherston


How does GÉANT fit in?

High-speed, high-capacity research and education networks were the critical enabler of the project, the collaboration and the event.


Firstly, by providing the crucial bandwidth to stream data from CERN in Geneva to the Montreux stage. And, secondly, by enabling collaboration across three, or sometimes four time zones.


GÉANT, together with Internet2, the transatlantic links and CANARIE, were used to stream and exchange data. In some cases music was created in the US and streamed through R&E networks to the EU.


​Domenico Vicinanza, GÉANT, Network, Services Product Manager, said: “The improvisation with Al Blatter, the incredible teamwork and the overarching theme of new physics and discovery, made this a very special concert; and the public loved it. It was a wonderful way to demonstrate scientific collaboration, and bring harmony between humankind and nature.”

You can listen to the duet here: https://soundcloud.com/geant-sounds/music-of-physics