The Blind Astrophysicist
Friday, May 06, 2011
Astronomers used to believe in something called “the music of the spheres” — they thought that planets and stars created harmonies as they traveled through the skies. These days, astronomy is mostly a matter of visual data expressed in charts and graphs. That won’t work for Wanda Diaz, an astrophysicist from Puerto Rico. She’s blind, and working on new ways to measure and represent what’s going on in outer space. Her technique may help those of us who can see, as well. Produced by Ari Epstein.
Bonus Track: Astronomical Music
Listen to a short excerpt of astronomical data converted into synthesized music.
Wanda uses a graph marked with Braille tags on a pegboard to plot the intensity of light versus frequency for a spiral galaxy. She can figure out the mass of the galaxy by calculating the area under the curve.
(Courtesy of Wanda Diaz)
Incidental MusicArtist: Wanda DiazLabel: Produced using the Xsonify software