Magnets Can Sing? Wait–What?

We generally all know about how vibrations allow us to hear sounds but have you ever thought about magnets making music? Me neither!

Have you ever listened to a superconducting magnet sing?

Superconducting magnets became part of the entertainment programme at CERN organized for the EUCAS 2017 conference last week. Magnets that have made the history of superconductivity, from Tevatron’s very first dipole to the very latest additions to the family (FRESCA 2 and the High Temperature Superconductor) were on display in the huge magnet-testing facility and turned into musical instruments for the night.

Sonification experts and scientists Domenico Vicinanza (Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge) and Genevieve Williams (University of Exeter) placed mechanic transducers on superconducting magnets and cavities, making them vibrate at audible frequencies. The geometry, size and material of the magnets and cavities shaped these vibrations into unique sounds melodies that provided the ambient music for the evening.

Domenico also orchestrated a “Field Polyphony” by mapping graphs of superconducting magnet trainings to a music scale. The same sequence of notes was then used as the score for the closing concert of the event, played live with a cello, flute and clarinet.

Here’s a sample:

Read and hear more here.

Larry Lootsteen

Music is life and I love to write about all things music. Independent music blogger. Writer in general. I am a big fan of alternative and indie music but there's no genre I haven't found something to like.

Larry Lootsteen has 630 posts and counting. See all posts by Larry Lootsteen

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