British composer Arthur Jeffes and astrophysicist Samaya Nissanke, have devised an ingenious method of translating gravitational waves into sound. The melody is composed of a gigantic wave of energy produced billions of years ago by the collision of two black holes crossing the cosmos and creating a ripple in space-time.
Using visual and sonic data from the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) team at Caltech, Jeffes set his sights on mapping the sine wave curves into MIDI patterns. As the data is in MIDI, the information could be processed by any number of electronic instruments; thus providing us with the melody heard in the video clip used as part of the composition.
As the front man of Penguin Café, Arthur is no stranger to the sounds of space as in 2012 when he used the Wow! Signal captured in 1977 to create music. The astro-musician is now collaborating with French astrophysicist Jean-Michel Desert to process data from various exoplanets into audible sounds. Makes you wonder what our own planet might “sound” like to other alien lifeforms.