Undisciplined: The Sounds Of Space

Dec 17, 2020

Color composite of a supernova remnant.
Credit Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA

No human has ventured farther than 250,000 miles from earth. So what we know about what lies beyond us is limited to what we can see through data collection. But why limit the potential of understanding data to what we can see in images? Why not turn it into something we can touch or something we can hear?

Kimberly Arcand has spent her career creating new ways to help people see, touch and hear the universe, using data to build 3-D models of exploded stars, virtual reality to create high-energy astrophysics experiences, and, most recently, an auditory experience that uses images from different telescopes as musical scores.

Arcand is a data visualization scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This year, in addition to the space sonification project, she released her first two children’s books — the fictional “An Alien Helped Me with My Homework” and the parody “Goodnight Exomoon.”