Are you fed up with boring graphs? What about listening to your data instead of starring at them for hours?

It is possible thanks to the sonification of data.

Above, an example of the sonification played by physicists of CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) for the 60th birthday of the organisation. This piece of music is made of different data set from the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), giving an idea of the complexity of the Universe.

How did they do that?

A brief explanation on sonification from BBC

The idea is simple. You assign a musical note to a value. The greater your value is, the higher the pitch gets. If your data are increasing the higher your composition will become and vice versa. Their are several free software programs on the internet that enables you to do this like Puredata among others.

Sonification has been used for a long time without creating such nice melodies. For instance, the Geiger counter uses the same principle as the more radiation there is, the strongest the sound you hear.

Why should we use it?

Because it sounds fun. And because, sonification of data enables scientists to hear more information at once than when looking at graphs. You can put together several data set and recognize patterns and harmony between them. In fact, it’s possible to hear many dimensions.

Their are many other examples on the internet. This one is a real current issue:

I am only an amateur but I know that there are few people in RSES who are very good music players. Maybe we could team up and try to work on an RSES sonification project with geology data?