How music could deliver scientific breakthroughs

Published: 6 April 2016 at 14:26

Man in a suit wearing a hard hat

Anglia Ruskin academics showcase their data sonification work at CERN conference

Two Anglia Ruskin University scientists took centre stage at a CERN conference in Switzerland to discuss their work looking at how sound and music can be used as tools for scientific investigation.

Dr Domenico Vicinanza and Dr Genevieve Williams of Anglia Ruskin’s Faculty of Science & Technology delivered the keynote presentation at the ITCR-Physics in Health CERN conference in Geneva.

Their talk showcased the benefits of using data sonification, which is where complex data is conveyed as audio signals as opposed to visual illustrations, such as graphs.

Dr Vicinanza and Dr Williams are using their expertise in data sonification to help with new breakthroughs in areas ranging from sport science to the analysis of cancer biopsies.

© 2016 CERN

As part of their presentation, the scientists were joined by Dr Chiara Mariotti, a particle physicist at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, who performed movement and force data on the flute.

The data, collected in Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science lab, had been sonified, which involves converting it into musical notes, in Anglia Ruskin’s Audio Technology lab.

Anglia Ruskin is creating the first facility in the world to link a biomechanics lab with an audio lab, providing a unique synergy for the scientists.

Dr Vicinanza and Dr Williams, who is Co-Director of Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, are using this facility to create objective audio data about the body.