MADRID, March 27
Using a technique known as sonification, the recent Indiana University graduate converted the visible light emitted by chemical elements into unique and complex sounds.
That’s why he showed that the first step to the interactive periodic table music at the source of the American Chemical Society.
Earlier, W. Walker Smith, the sole researcher of the project, took the combined passions of music and chemistry and converted the natural vibrations of molecules into musical composition. “Then I saw images of discrete wavelengths of light emitted by elements like scandium,” Smith said, as quoted by Phys.org. “They were beautiful and complex, and I thought, ‘Wow, I want to turn them into music, too.'”
The elements emit visible light when they are active. This light is made up of several individual wavelengths, or particular colors, with brightness levels unique to each item. But on paper, you can easily distinguish the collections of wavelengths for different elements visually, especially for transition metals, which can have thousands of individual colors, Cicero says. Converting light into sound frequencies could be another way for humans to detect differences between elements.
But creating sounds with the elements on the periodic table has been done before. For example, other scientists have assigned distinct equalities to the individual notes of traditional piano keys. But this approach reduced the rich variety of waves emitted by some elements to a few sounds, explains Smith, who is now a researcher at Indiana University.
In order to retain the feasibility and simplicity of the spectral element, Smith consulted faculty members at Indiana University, including David Clemmer, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, and Chi Wang, a professor in the Jacobs School of Music.
With their help, Smith built a real-time computer audio code that mixes the light data of each element into a signal. The discrete color wavelengths were converted into individual sine waves whose frequency equaled that of the light and whose amplitude equaled the brightness of the light.