On September 6, PubSci — Brookhaven National Laboratory’s science café and conversation series — was held at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY, for a program called “Sculpture, Sound & Simulation: Transforming Scientific Data into Interactive Art.” Composer and cellist Margaret Schedel, an associate professor in the Department of Music at Stony Brook University, kicked off the event by playing a cello composition based on the digits in the mathematical constant pi. Attendees then heard sonifications of different nanomaterials, including a metal alloy and carbon nanotubes in a polymer.
Schedel then joined four panelists who discussed different ways to represent nanoscience data through visualization and sonification. She and the other panelists — Melissa Clarke, interdisciplinary artist and arts.codes co-founder (with Schedel) and creative director; Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), independent composer, artist and essayist; and Kevin Yager, a physicist at Brookhaven Lab — showed how these fields can be combined to create beautiful visuals and sounds based on real scientific data.
The event was inspired by an ongoing collaboration between Clarke, Schedel and Yager. Using nanoscience data that Yager and other scientists generated at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials and the National Synchrotron Light Source II, the trio created novel representations of 3-D nanostructures in the form of a sculpture collection called “Glass Menagerie” and sonifications incorporated into a virtual reality experience.