字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 ROBERT ALEXANDER: If you'd asked me five years ago, Robert, where will you be five years from now? I don't think I would've been able to come up with an answer as cool as what I actually feel like I'm doing, you know? [ETHEREAL MUSIC] ROBERT ALEXANDER: My name is Robert Alexander. And I'm a data sonification specialist with the Solar and Heliospheric Research Group. To sonify something just means that you're taking any type of data and just turning it into sound. So it could be a measurement of the stock market. It could be a measurement of people entering and exiting a room. It could be your heartbeat. So if you think about a heart rate monitor-- beep, beep-- essentially, this is a sonification of someone's pulse. I think of myself as an explorer. I live in the space between art, and science, and technology. And the Toroidal Universe project is a great example. I collaborated with this amazing visual artist by the name of Danielle Battaglia. And we created this multi-sensory experience in which people, they can just get lost in these theoretical higher dimensional spaces. And these were filled with these sounds that I generated from raw satellite data that were these kind of guide posts as you move around. It really is important for me to remain grounded in what it means to just be connected with the world of sound in a very tangible, very visceral way. So then when I go off and I'm interacting with the sun, it gives me a sense of grounding in a sense. And it kind of helps just round out my life and to maintain a healthy sort of balance, I guess you could say. So as I was finishing up my master's degree, I was approached by Thomas Zurbuchen who leads the Solar and Heliospheric Research Group. And he was interested in taking some other data and turning it into sound. So I met with their team. And they put up a bunch of plots. And they were telling me about coronal holes, and they were throwing out this scientific jargon. And I really didn't understand much of it. But then they put up these images and these movies. And then I really started to understand why they were so excited. It's because what's happening out there is absolutely amazing, and it was all silent. So essentially they're interested in kind of creating a soundtrack for these things that are taking place out in space. SUSAN LEPRI: He brought to us this idea of sonifying data, which is really quite innovative and maybe even transformative. ROBERT ALEXANDER: I had no idea what data audification was. But that's what I was doing at the time is I was taking this solar data, and I was writing it directly into audio files. So I hit play. And I hear this underlying hum. And there seemed to be a structure. The hum would rise and fall. So then after I crunched all the numbers, I realized that what I was listening to was something that was periodically happening every roughly 27 days. And that's exactly the rotational period of the sun. And then, from there it was this journey of realizing that I'm listening to the solar cycle, so the rise and the fall in solar activity. And then, at that point, I realized this can really actually teach us something new. At first, it came off as extremely cerebral. And it was just a tone that kind of went up and down. And there really wasn't very much emotion behind it. And we really didn't know how we wanted to start to investigate these sounds. So then as it evolved, they said, well, how about we try an emotional journey? So a week later, I came back, and I had created this iteration whereby you take a journey from the Earth out to the sun and back, with sonification audio underlying this whole entire experience. Every single piece of that music is driven in some way, shape, or form by that data. And all of the choices in terms of the rise and the fall, all of them relate back to the underlying data. And all of them are true to the data in some way, shape, or form. Starting with one of the more predominant things that you're actually hearing is that drumbeat. There's a question of are there African tribal drummers on the surface of the sun? And the answer is no. But if you think about a scientific graph, there are hash marks. And you need these hash marks to make sense. What the drum beat is is it's a sort of grandiose metronome, in a sense. And it just lets you know where you are within this data set. So for that piece with the drumming that's all over the year 2003, and the drumming actually lets you, like every eight bars, that you've gone through one full rotation of the sun. And in a sense, if you hear something that happens at the beginning of the bar and then you hear something happen again, similarly, at the beginning eight bars later, then you know that this might be a feature that's persisted across an entire solar rotation now, and it's coming back in the musical form. And the sun then provides the structure and can provide these sort of recurring themes. And the drums just give it that structure within which to evolve. I recorded the voice of my sister, Amanda Alexander. And she has a great alto voice. And originally I was thinking about these charge states of carbon, and the fact that as one of them goes up, another one comes down. And so when you have a lower voice versus a higher voice, there's actually more energy pushing out those higher notes. So when I'm representing a higher energetic state, I'm using a more energized voice. And in this way, it's kind of appealing directly to the intuition of the listener in that when you hear these voices get more energized, you're at a higher energy level coming from the sun, essentially. I create a structure. I create a framework. And without the data driving that framework, nothing takes place. So the structure just kind of exists on its own. And then it's the data that creates all the motion, that creates all the interaction, and all the progression of the music. SUSAN LEPRI: Initially, it started out sort of more looking at the aesthetics of how can you sonify solar wind? And it was a musical sort of approach. But then it evolved more into a scientific data analysis method. When he was working with the scientists here, Enrico Landi, who is, I believe, the first author on the paper, he found that he could actually hear some of the trends more clearly in some of the elements. ROBERT ALEXANDER: I was digging through like 20, 30 different data parameters and listening to them all. And I realized that if I listened to carbon that I could hear a very strong, harmonic presence. And I started to think, if I'm hearing carbon here, but no one in the group has ever really been talking about carbon. It's not really something that they stress as being important. And yet, here, fundamentally, this is one of the strongest periodic signals that I had found up to that point. I'm thinking maybe this is something worth looking into a little bit more. We were able to figure out that, if we use carbon, that we can trace the origins of the solar wind with a higher accuracy. So we can figure out where it's originating on the sun. SUSAN LEPRI: This was fairly significant research findings that came out of this audification thing. So it really, I think, set the stage for Robert to do a lot more exciting things with the sonification of data. ROBERT ALEXANDER: We wrote everything up. And we said that the ear can be an extremely powerful tool in the analysis of this type of data, of time series data. And some people at NASA, I guess, got excited about that. And they said, all right, let's give it a shot. And so now I'm in the second year of my NASA JPFP fellowship. And I spent the last summer working at NASA Goddard. And I was really amazed at how eager they all were to pick up the ball with sonification. And so it was really invigorating to be in that kind of space with those kinds of minds and to be tackling these kinds of ideas. We forget that the most powerful tool that we have for exploring the universe is right between our two ears. And those same two ears provide a wealth of information beyond what our eyes can actually see. When we open up our ears and open up our minds, we open ourselves up to an entirely new way of understanding the universe.