Friday, January 8, 2016

CMS Audio and Visual

In today's Weekly Space Hangout, the guest was Elizabeth S. Sexton-Kennedy who works at Fermilab with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS).  I enjoyed the interview very much and it was a breath of fresh air to be focusing on non-astronomical topic that indeed has many astronomers very interested.  At one point in the interview, she very briefly but proudly mentioned that CMS data is available to the public.  I don't necessarily consider myself "The Public" but what I heard was that CMS data was publicly available.

So I started my hunt.  The goal was to see if I could take some CMS data and turn it into audio and visual interpretations.

It was pretty easy to find the data.  I had quite a choise so I just blindly chose the first one: "Dimuon events with invariant mass range 2-5 GeV for public education and outreach" which happened to be a file containing two thousand data points (maybe they're individual events????) that I haven't a clue about.  At the top of the .csv file is a very short header apparently describing the values therein.  I noticed that columns 4, 5, and 6 were labeled "px1", "py1", and "pz1".  So I'm sort of taking that as some sort of three-dimensional coordinate system.

I can work with that.

So what I did was a calculated the "distance" between each "event" coordinate and the origin (0,0,0 in 3D space), giving me a radial distance between the "event" and the origin.  I then sorted them by distance and translated those values into audio frequencies and came up with the following (in all of these cases, a lower frequency means a smaller distance; also note that I've kept the amplitude of each frequency the same):

This is the sound of the five hundred "events" that were nearest the origin.

CMS Dimuon 0 to 500

Here is the sound of the five hundred "events" starting at the 500th furthest one from the origin:

CMS Dimuon 500 to 1000

here is the sound of the five hundred "events" starting at the 1000th furthest one from the origin:

CMS Dimuon 1000 to 1500

here is the sound of the five hundred "events" starting at the 1500th furthest one from the origin:

CMS Dimuon 1500 to 2000

And here, at last, is all of them combined into one sound (2000 notes playing at the same time!):

CMS Dimuon All Events

Now of course I had to make some pretty pictures using the same data.  All I've done here is plot the values and in some cases connect the dots.  Hope you like 'em.  I think they're beautiful!

Looks like a white blood cell, a stange snowflake, or a spiney cotton ball
Looks like a globular cluster

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