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Rockin’ Physicists Turn The Higgs Boson Into Heavy Metal

You want to talk about metal? How about smashing fundamental particles of the universe together at 99.999% the speed of light to look for harbingers of the physical laws that give everything mass inside the largest, most complicated machine ever constructed by the smartest known creatures in space-time? Yeah. That’s metal.

The only way to make looking for something like the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) any more metal is to actually set it to some shredding. Above, two physicists (who certainly look the part) have done just that.

To create the track, physicist Piotr Traczyk used data from the search for the Higgs and transformed it into musical notes, with as little change to the “music” produced as possible. Traczyk used data from two channels coming from LHC detectors, and assigned each “bin” of data its own 16th note so that each graphical representation of the data, or histogram, would represent one full bar of music. Finally, each data entry into a bin would correspond to a semi-tone above Traczyk’s chosen base note. Empty bins meant a pause.

With a bit of compression and data massaging, the result was a dark backing riff and a face-melting end solo, shown derived from the histograms below:

HiggsHeavy_run1 HiggsHeavy_run2

“The resulting ‘song’ is written for two guitars,” says Traczyk. “One plays the gamma-gamma run, and then the other plays the 4-lepton riff (the first histogram) a few times. Each guitar also plays something else when the other guitar plays the sonification; I took the liberty of writing these parts to make the whole thing blend seamlessly. I added a drum and bass part – it is a metal tune after all!”

All Traczyk needed then was a stage, and the choice was obvious: CERN’s main auditorium where the original discovery was announced.

“Now I’m waiting for a discovery in the next LHC run, so I can produce another track.”

HT: The Cylindrical Onion

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