The lessons of history are clear. The more exotic, the more abstract the knowledge, the more profound will be its consequences.Leon Lederman, from an address to the Franklin Institute, 1995

BBC article-Click on Image

See Also: LHC sound


Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualize data. Due to the specifics of auditory perception, such as temporal and pressure resolution, it forms an interesting alternative or complement to visualization techniques, gaining importance in various disciplines. It has been well established for a long time already as Auditory Display in situations that require a constant awareness of some information (e.g. vital body functions during an operation). Sonification as a method for exploration of data and scientific modeling is a current and ongoing research desideratum.

One of the first successful applications of sonification is the well-known Geiger counter, a device measuring ionizing radiation. The number and frequency of audible clicks are directly dependent on the radiation level in the immediate vicinity of the device.



Sonification is an interdisciplinary field combining:

Some existing applications and projects

Sonification techniques

Many different components can be altered to change the user’s perception of the sound, and in turn, their perception of the underlying information being portrayed. Often, an increase or decrease in some level in this information is indicated by an increase or decrease in pitch, amplitude or tempo, but could also be indicated by varying other less commonly used components. For example, a stock market price could be portrayed by rising pitch as the stock price rose, and lowering pitch as it fell. To allow the user to determine that more than one stock was being portrayed, different timbres or brightnesses might be used for the different stocks, or they may be played to the user from different points in space, for example, through different sides of their headphones.

Many studies have been undertaken to try to find the best techniques for various types of information to be presented, and as yet, no conclusive set of techniques to be used has been formulated. As the area of sonification is still considered to be in its infancy, current studies are working towards determining the best set of sound components to vary in different situations.

Several different techniques for rendering auditory data representations can be categorized:


  1. ^ Thomas Hermann, Andy Hunt, and Sandra Pauletto. Interacting with Sonification Systems: Closing the Loop. Eighth International Conference on Information Visualisation (IV’04) : 879-884. Available: [1]. DOI=
  2. ^ Thomas Hermann, and Andy Hunt. The Importance of Interaction in Sonification. Proceedings of ICAD Tenth Meeting of the International Conference on Auditory Display, Sydney, Australia, July 6–9, 2004. Available: [2]
  3. ^ Sandra Pauletto and Andy Hunt. A Toolkit for Interactive Sonification. Proceedings of ICAD Tenth Meeting of the International Conference on Auditory Display, Sydney, Australia, July 6–9, 2004. Available: [3].

See also

External links


Radar echos from Titan’s surface

This recording was produced by converting into audible sounds some of the radar echoes received by Huygens during the last few kilometers of its descent onto Titan. As the probe approaches the ground, both the pitch and intensity increase. Scientists will use intensity of the echoes to speculate about the nature of the surface.


Gravity is talking. LISA will listen.

The Cosmos sings with many strong gravitational voices, causing ripples in the fabric of space and time that carry the message of tremendous astronomical events: the rapid dances of closely orbiting stellar remnants, the mergers of massive black holes millions of times heavier than the Sun, the aftermath of the Big Bang. These ripples are the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein’s 1915 general relativity; nearly one century later, it is now possible to detect them. Gravitational waves will give us an entirely new way to observe and understand the Universe, enhancing and complementing the insights of conventional astronomy.

See:What Does Gravity Sound Like?

See Also: Gravitational Wave Detectors are Best Described as “Sounds.

This entry was posted in Numerical Relativity, Sonification, Sound, Titan and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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