Space is a vacuum, and utterly silent. However, near-Earth space is full of a rich variety of naturally occurring radio waves. Many of these have frequencies in the range 20 Hz to 20 kHz, which puts them in the audio frequency range. These radio waves cannot be heard directly, but conversion to sound reveals a series of weird and wonderful noises, known as the ‘sounds of space’. Join us to explore the amazing variety of natural “sounds” detected at British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Research Station. Then embark on a sound-led, data-driven journey from Earth-orbit to beyond the galaxy!
Discover how these remarkable “sounds” have been used to create performances, new music, and short films. We will also reveal how the recordings from Halley have been used to enhance the exploration gameplay in the space simulation video game Elite Dangerous.
Speakers: Nigel Meredith and Diana Scarborough
Dr Nigel Meredith is a space weather research scientist at British Antarctic Survey. He uses satellite data to develop global models of plasma waves in near Earth space for input into radiation belt codes and, ultimately, to forecast space weather. He is also interested in extreme space weather and has recently applied extreme value analysis to long-term satellite datasets to determine the 1 in 10, 1 in 50 and 1 in 100 year space weather events. This is important for assessing the impact of extreme events on the world’s satellite fleet. He enjoys exploring how to make scientific data more accessible and is currently involved in an art-science collaboration, “sounds of space”. He has published 111 papers in peer-reviewed journals covering a wide range of topics in space plasma physics.
Diana Scarborough is an artist – engineer whose multimedia practice is cross-discipline and collaborative. She takes inspiration from research that embraces concepts of data, code, sound, archival history, technology and environmental concerns and rephrases them from an art perspective. She uses film, animation, soundscapes, light, technology, dancers and musicians as a palette to translate data into an immersive experience that is tangible, surprising, relevant and inclusive. She has been collaborating with Nigel since 2016 and this recent project, “sounds of space” has received much interest in the art and science fields. Short films inspired by this art-science collaboration are being shown at the Venice Biennale this year.