BBC News – Music from tiny particles’ movements set to debut
The random dance of tiny particles bouncing around in liquid has been turned into a unique sound display.
Now a chemical engineer and an artist have joined forces to turn this random molecular dance into music.
The project, called Scale Structure Synthesis, was developed for the University of Sheffield‘s Festival of the Mind, which begins on Thursday.
The festival will see a number of pairings of science specialists with non-specialists in the name of public engagement, alongside talks, exhibitions and demonstrations.
Music of the spheres
For Scale Structure Synthesis, Jonathan Howse of the University of Sheffield built a simple microscope to observe the “musicians” of the installation: tiny particles of polystyrene, spheres just a millionth of a metre across, floating around in liquid.
A microscope with a camera attached is fixed on the particles as Brownian motion pushes them back and forth, and computer software tracks the motions of up to eight of the particles.
Artist Mark Fell then turns this stream of data into molecular music.