What Does Nuclear Radiation Sound Like?

In reality, radiation emits no sound, or visuals, or smell. But that doesn't mean it can't be interpreted. Axel Boman, a musician and DJ, partnered with KSU, the Swedish safety agency, to develop a musical model for radioactive isotopes.

According to Brain Pickings' Maria Popova, The Radioactive Orchestra is modelled after the decay patterns of most known isotopes.

Melodies are created by simulating the decay of an atomic nucleus from an excited nuclear state down to its ground state. A single gamma photon is released for every step of the energy loss and, by representing the energy of the photon as the pitch of a note, the photon plays a note each time this happens. For an added touch of synesthesia, this is also visualized by a colourful ray coming out of the atomic nucleus. Because every isotope has a unique set of possible excited states and decay patterns, it also has a unique sonic fingerprint.

The end result are compositions bound by scientific law. There's even a site for the project, where you can play up to five isotopes simultaneously, with visual indicators for each isotope. It's a cool way to analyse and compare the process by which isotopes release radiation. Check it out over at The Radiation Project. [via Brain Pickings]

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