Dark Matter by Erica Sellers

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

For sound to exist, vibrations of atoms and molecules must travel through a medium such as air or water. Since molecules do not exist in the vast regions of the universe, sound cannot travel through deep space. This has not stopped scientists at NASA from using audio clips as a way to recognize subtle differences in how stars travel and how the sun’s magnetic field fluctuates. This procedure, known as sonification, is recognized among heliophysicists, astrophysicists, and doctors.

Sonification is used to display any type of data or measurement as a sound, such as the beep from a heart rate monitor, a door bell ringing, or in this case, when stars come into contact with a black hole. Scientists can use sound to process data and to detect information in more detail than through analysis alone. Using the audio clip ‘Boom’ from NASA’s public domain, Erica converted the recording into a visual soundscape. She then further abstracted the soundscape by manipulating it into abstract forms to be used as the surface textures and shapes for a series of sculptural furniture.