22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

CERN presents the Cosmic Piano

CERN’s incredible Cosmic Piano, an electronic instrument devised by Large Hadron Collider scientists Dr Arturo Fernandez Tellez and Dr Guillermo Tejeda Muñoz, will perform a duet with a jazz pianist.

When a cosmic ray passes through one of the eight detector pads of the Cosmic Piano, it triggers a musical note and a colourful flash of light. The rays arrive from space in random intervals, providing Chicago jazz pianist, Al Blatter, with a unique canvas for improvising a cosmic duet of polyrhythmic jazz.

Al Blatter began musical studies in Chicago with accordion lessons at the age of six. He obtained a degree in Composition and Piano from DePaul University in Chicago. He has performed with a range of artists including Lionel Hampton, Buddy Greco, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Diahann Carroll and Rita Moreno, and recorded 3 CDs. He currently lives in Lausanne, Switzerland where he teaches Jazz Piano, Composition and Improvisation at the International School in La Chataigneraie and performs as a freelance musician with the Al Blatter trio and the Albert Mark band.

Professor Arturo Fernandez Tellez and Professor Guillermo Tejeda Muñoz from the Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico, are members of the ALICE experiment, one of the experiments on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, with experience in international cosmic ray experiments and high expertise in particle detectors. In 2012 they invented the CERN Cosmic Piano, using actual particle detectors. The Cosmic Piano was presented at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in a workshop entitled ’The Physics of Music/The Music of Physics’.

Your host, Dr Steven Goldfarb, is a physicist from the University of Melbourne participating on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN. In his spare time, he fronts the Canettes Blues Band from Geneva. Fascinated by the harmonious interplay between science and music, Steve proposed and hosted several workshops at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Part of the ‘ESOF Presents…’series. On Saturday 23 July, leading academics and researchers from a range of scientific disciplines and fields of discovery will be making an appearance at bluedot ahead of speaking at the EuroScience Open Forum, Europe’s biggest science conference, which is taking place in Manchester 24 – 27 July.