Sonification

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JohnD
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Sonification

Post by JohnD » Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:46 am

Recently, APOD has been asking us to take a questionnnaire about the "sonification" of astronomical images.

Will someone please explain the purpose of this process?
With the exception of possibly assisting blind astronomers, and as an art-form, is there any point in doing it?

John

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neufer
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Re: Sonification

Post by neufer » Sat Mar 06, 2021 3:18 pm

JohnD wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:46 am

Recently, APOD has been asking us to take a questionnnaire about the "sonification" of astronomical images.

Will someone please explain the purpose of this process?
With the exception of possibly assisting blind astronomers, and as an art-form, is there any point in doing it?
  • Is there really any point in doing anything :?:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonification wrote:
<<Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualize data. Auditory perception has advantages in temporal, spatial, amplitude, and frequency resolution that open possibilities as an alternative or complement to visualization techniques. In 1976, philosopher of technology, Don Ihde, wrote, "Just as science seems to produce an infinite set of visual images for virtually all of its phenomena--atoms to galaxies are familiar to us from coffee table books to science magazines; so 'musics,' too, could be produced from the same data that produces visualizations." This appears to be one of the earliest references to sonification as a creative practice.>>
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica_universalis wrote:
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
<<The musica universalis (literally universal music), also called music of the spheres or harmony of the spheres, is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies – the Sun, Moon, and planets – as a form of music. This "music" is not thought to be audible, but rather a harmonic, mathematical or religious resonance. The idea continued to appeal to scholars until the end of the Renaissance, influencing many schools of thought, including humanists. Further scientific exploration discovered orbital resonance in specific proportions in some orbital motion.

In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution, and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear. Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as "twinned" studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.>>
Play a Sequence: A000040 [the prime numbers]
Art Neuendorffer

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Chris Peterson
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Re: Sonification

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Mar 06, 2021 4:11 pm

JohnD wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:46 am
Recently, APOD has been asking us to take a questionnnaire about the "sonification" of astronomical images.

Will someone please explain the purpose of this process?
With the exception of possibly assisting blind astronomers, and as an art-form, is there any point in doing it?
Are those not perfectly good reasons to do it? It's not like such projects in any way detract from others.
Chris

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JohnD
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Re: Sonification

Post by JohnD » Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:25 pm

Perfectly good reasons, Chris, if you are a blind astronomer ( if so, I salute you!). Or a musician. Many who contribute to APOD enthuse on the beauty of the images, but that's not a reason to look for more ways to express the "music of the spheres"!

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Re: Sonification

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:32 pm

JohnD wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:25 pm
Perfectly good reasons, Chris, if you are a blind astronomer ( if so, I salute you!). Or a musician. Many who contribute to APOD enthuse on the beauty of the images, but that's not a reason to look for more ways to express the "music of the spheres"!
My only complaint would be if a substantial percentage of images were replaced by audio. But I don't see much risk of that.
Chris

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neufer
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Re: Sonification

Post by neufer » Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:27 pm

JohnD wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:25 pm

Perfectly good reasons, Chris, if you are a blind astronomer ( if so, I salute you!).
https://web.archive.org/web/20110721070628/http://www.seti-inst.edu/about-us/people/staff/cullers-kent.php wrote:
Kent Cullers (Born : July 21, 1949)

<<The elder child of George Cullers, a physicist, and his wife, Wanda, a college administrator, Cullers was born seven weeks prematurely in El Reno, Oklahoma, at a time when it was standard practice to immerse 'preemies' in pure oxygen. Overexposure saved his life but destroyed Cullers' retinas and left him totally blind. Soon he was actively absorbing as much of the world around him as his curious and eager mind could hold. "When I was five, I was read to about science by my father, who was a physicist," Kent recalls. "He'd read me magic books and astronomy books. I continued to improve at astronomy, but I never did improve at magic."

By age eight, Kent had learned to read Braille and was an avid reader who excelled in school. Science fiction was a mainstay. A prolific reader to this day, he polishes off "probably five books a week." If he is "lucky," he tells us, two are science fiction, a genre Kent describes as "the dreaming of science," and valuable for the way it inspires the most creative thoughts in people about what they can do. Despite his impairment he was physically active as a child and encouraged by his parents to be a part of the educational mainstream. He was a straight-A student, a national merit scholar and class valedictorian at Temple City High School in California . He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980 (the first totally blind physicist in the world).

Kent favoured physics over math despite the challenges it presented; a blind scientist must grapple with data "charts" that are primarily mental. "There are many blind mathematicians," he explains. While the dynamics of math theory can be neatly contained within the mind of a mathematician, in physics, data from the real world must be correlated and graphed, a challenge for a blind person. But, he says, the "really neat" thing about physics is that it offers a way to use mathematics to understand the way the world works and to test ideas with experiments.

While in college, Kent read the report titled 'Project Cyclops', the comprehensive analysis of SETI science and technology issues prepared for NASA by Bernard M. Oliver. Reading the seminal SETI study triggered a life-long passion for SETI in the young scientist. In graduate school, Kent spent a great deal of time "hanging out" at NASA Ames with researchers engaged in what was then NASA's SETI program. They patiently answered his questions and encouraged his interest in this relatively esoteric field of radio astronomy.

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
But it was a chance meeting at a social event that secured Kent a SETI career. "I went to the right Greek wedding." he explains. At the Berkeley wedding, he was seated directly across from Jill Tarter (Director, Centre for SETI Research) and they rapidly engaged in a lively discussion of Cyclops and Kent's interest in SETI. Kent remembers Jill's enthusiasm during their serendipitous meeting, "She told me, 'That's amazing, there is actually a position opening up.'" This was in 1980; the year Kent received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley . He accepted a post doc at Ames, and "has been at it ever since."

From 1985 to 1990 he was the Targeted Search Signal Detection Team Leader with the SETI Institute. He developed, evaluated, and implemented optimised detection algorithms for continuous and pulsed signals originating from distant Earth-like planets. He created algorithms for both advanced special purpose and general-purpose computers.

Cullers is also a leader in the rarefied field of envisioning and designing advanced radio telescopes that scan wider and wider swaths of the skies. One of his most successful programs filters out earthly "noise" that clutters SETI's radio reception, like waves from cell phones.

Today Dr. Cullers leads the research and development of future SETI projects at the Institute. His signal detection algorithms help place Institute projects on the cutting edge of SETI science and Kent 's fine mind is at work each time Institute signal detection systems sieve the cosmic noise for SETI signals. And Kent 's work has led to unexpected advances in other fields of science. Kent 's signal detection expertise has helped planet detection teams evaluate data for natural signals from distant solar systems. And surprisingly, Kent 's algorithms have helped advance technology for breast cancer detection, an area of great interest to him.

He resigned from NASA in October 1995, and rejoined the SETI Institute as a Senior Scientist and Project Manager for Project Phoenix. Since 2000 he has served as Director for SETI R&D.

For Kent , science is the most rewarding of all careers because of the interconnectedness of the methods it offers us for investigating the world. Says Kent, "To explore and discover one new thing is still the most exciting opportunity and the greatest excitement in my life." The movie 'Contact' (starring Jodie Foster) released in 1997 had a character modelled after him.

Kent has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including NASA's Exceptional Engineering Achievement medal in 1993 and Federal Employee of the Year in 1994. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society, and a board member for the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Sensory Access Foundation, and the Peninsula Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Kent travels extensively to give talks and present papers at international science meetings. Kent has had a ham radio license since 1961, is an avid chess player, and plays both piano and guitar. For Cullers, blindness is a small obstacle. "My blindness isn't a disability for me. It is an annoyance," he says. "I may not be able to drive a car, but that's insignificant compared to my work and my family." Insignificant indeed. Few have done more to further the search for intelligent life beyond earth. His story shows the spectacular potential for assistive technology to give a clearer, stronger voice to many people whose disabilities, in another era, might have masked their brilliance.>>
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THX1138
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Re: Sonification

Post by THX1138 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:46 am

That's really something Art and to think a person could accomplish all that after being born blind....Dam
Thank you for that Art
I've come to the conclusion that when i said i wanted to be somebody when i grew up i probably should have been more specific

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JohnD
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Re: Sonification

Post by JohnD » Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:55 am

An excellent account of an inspiring blind astronomer! Thank you, Neufer!
But that story doesn't answer my question, "Why sonification?" Dr.Cullers' acheievements were without, as far as we know, tinkley tunes as a computers scanned a starscape.
John