SOUNDS OF THE SPECTRUM
Alex Gagliano, Jackie Bertone
Venue: GOA SCIENCE CENTRE, MIRAMAR
Time: 10:30 – 18:30
The Story of Space is the Story of Energy. All the light that we observe is electromagnetic energy propagating throughout the universe. The building blocks of the universe, atoms, each have their own unique light signature, called an emission spectrum. For thousands of years, we have used our eyes to study the cosmos, but what if we could use our ears, or our hands? What would we learn if we gave everyone a chance to experience our universe? Alex and Jackie take the frequencies of light unique to each element and converts it into an aural frequency. A series of vibrating metal plates allow them to reveal these frequencies as visual patterns. By layering the audio and the patterns, they have created new representations of water, humans, the Earth, and even the universe itself. In this exhibit, individuals will walk around with a pair of Bluetooth headphones and hear the elements in a star. As the participants walk, the elements they hear will changed based on the relative abundances of elements at that point in the star.
Jackie Bertone is a third year Physics major with a dual minor in Astronomy and Music Technology at Virginia Tech. Two of her most significant passions in life are music and physics. From a young age, she began composing and taught herself to play the piano. Now, she studies digital sound manipulation and composition while pursuing her degree in physics. Last year, her interest in space led her to start a team and build an astronaut EVA tool for NASA’s Micro-g NExT program. The tool was tested at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas and the research is currently being used to help engineers design better tools. For the Story of Space project, she was inspired to combine her background in music and her fascination with space to sonify the building blocks of the cosmos.
Alex is an astrophysicist working at Los Alamos National Labs on cosmology simulations and supernovae. He is interested in the intersection between astronomy and culture, specifically how society influences the way an individual sees and interprets the sky. Last year, he traveled to Gabon to study traditional West African astronomical beliefs. He presented the works this past November at a TEDx event in the US.
Alex also completed an internship at the Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town, South Africa, where he interacted with a blind astronomer who inspired him to explore sound-based astronomy outreach practices. With the Story of Space, Alex hopes to explore ways to make astronomy more accessible to under-served and under-represented communities.
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