by Rukmani Krishna on  September 21, 2012 at 11:52 PM Research News
 Conversion Of Random Dance of Tiny Liquid Molecules to Music
The random dance of tiny particles bouncing around in liquid were turned into a unique sound display by a chemical engineer and an artist from UK.

The jostling molecules of liquid bump the particles to and fro in an effect called Brownian motion.

The project, called Scale Structure Synthesis, was developed for the University of Sheffield's Festival of the Mind, which begins on Thursday, the BBC reported.

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.

The sounds come from eight separate speakers, one assigned to each tracked particle.

The pitch of the sound from each speaker changes with the distance a given particle moves, while the timbre or character of the sound changes with the angle of the movement.

The results make for interesting listening, Fell said.

"The piece we're doing could be thought of as quite confrontational," he said.

"It's not nice, drifty, atmospheric kind of soundscapes, it's quite pure, resonant, frequencies. Aesthetically it could be quite challenging.

"It's not like I'm trying to induce any kind of feeling or specific response, my hope is that it's aesthetically out of what people might normally encounter and prompts some kind of curiosity," he added.

Dr Howse said that the project allowed a unique connection with the microscopic world.

Source: ANI

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