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Sun Transmissions

March 13th, 2012 |  Published in Blog

The Sun innit

This evening, on my commute home from work, I managed to catch the second half of Material World on Radio 4. A couple of things caught my ear.

First, a brief (and frankly rather dull) interview with a scientist investigating annoying noises, who clearly needs to be introduced to Greta Pistaceci and Richard Thomas, two sick puppies whose idea of a good time is bowing balloons and polystyrene.

Second, there was a much more interesting interview dealing with data sonification – in this case stellar seismologists who use the variance in a star’s brightness to study its internal structure. This data is then converted into sound, which has to be sped up thousands of times in order to be audible to the human ear (there are a couple of brief excerpts of the sound in the programme itself).

Reminded me of a conversation I had with Briony Yorke on the way back from Coded Transmissions, about how many scientists were better able to notice patterns and anomalies in sonified data than they were visualised data.

The programme is also notable for the quote “You don’t listen to an oboe from fifty light years away.”

Still, I’m better off leaving scientific explanations to other – better suited – people. This is more my level:


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March 13th, 2012 | by | Published in Blog