Music in the Stars – Progress Report – Anne Katherine

Spring has finally sprung here on the Westtown campus which has me thinking about the direction of my project in the next few months. My due date I have set for myself is now less than a year away, and while I have made steady progress, I’m sure next March will approach more quickly than I anticipate.

I currently have three software programs. Two play the frequency data from Data Set #2, one of them as sorted by intensity and the other in a series of chords. To me, the chords sound very interesting, to others they sound like whale noises. Ah, well I didn’t expect Bach’s Double Concerto in D Minor (which incidentally I am playing in my recital coming up) to come through my speakers. The third is the most interesting to my ears and has a the greatest range in tones, spanning through three octaves. This one, derived from Data Set #1, took longer to put together as I was not able to use the raw data from the table and instead has to extract the Lyman-alpha forest data from what I was given. 

I plan to continue to modify both data sets to get the most interesting sound possible and keep working with the chord idea. After this I am going to have to do some experimenting with software in order to translate the multi-tone beeps of what I have now into playable sheet music. 

I have heard it said by experts in a range of fields that the greatest piece of advice they have is to become an expert in something. In this light I have decided to expand my project into other areas of my life with the goal of becoming somewhat of an expert on this very small piece of astrophysics, the Lyman-alpha forest and Lyman Series. For my chemistry class we have been asked to write a review paper on any topic in science of our choosing, surprise surprise, I picked the Lyman Series.  I believe that having the opportunity to do an in depth study on the topic of my project will not only put me on my way towards becoming an expert but also strengthen my chances and widen my creative horizons towards finding music in the stars. 

Thanks for reading!



Picture Citation: “Are There More Grains of Sand Than Stars?” Universe Today RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

3 thoughts on “Music in the Stars – Progress Report – Anne Katherine

  1. annekatherineb Post author

    P.S. Be sure to use Google Chrome for the links, CodePen only works on that browser.

  2. margaretjhaviland

    You are looking to be an expert in the Lyman-alpha forest, I dabble all the time. Over break I started reading Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Your picture with all the stars reminds me that I just read about the Inflaton Field. What does the Lyman-alpha forest have to do with chemistry or more to the point what are the chemical properties of the forest? Does knowing this help with the music?

    1. annekatherineb Post author

      How interesting, I’ll have to look into Brian Greene’s book.
      Our assignment for chemistry is to write a review paper on any topic of our choosing, and our topic does not necessarily have to be chemistry related. However, the Lyman-alpha forest and the Lyman series do have their roots in both physics and chemistry as when we look at the Lyman-alpha forest we are looking at an interpretation of the hydrogen found between the observer and the quasar. All kinds of chemistry related topics stem, including the ionization of hydrogen.


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