Robert Alexander – Sonification

Robert Alexander works to give the sun a voice. As a sonification specialist at the University of Michigan, Alexander turns data from the sun into music.

And not only does it sound beautiful, but it can help further our understanding of the celestial body.

Alone, data collected from satellites around the sun sound like a gentle roar or low hum. Changes indicate the sun becoming more or less active over time, or as Alexander likes to call it, “heartbeats.”


Kristian Birkeland – Bio

The professor whose face is emblazoned on the Norwegian 200-kroner banknote was forgotten for nearly 60 years. Today he is considered one of Norway’s greatest researchers ever.

Norwegian professor Kristian Birkeland (1867–1917) was the very first scientist in the world to realize that the northern lights had something to do with the electromagnetic storms from the sun. He was also the man behind the fantastic invention that enabled the making of fertilizer by harvesting nitrogen from the air. The discovery was the basis for the foundation of Norsk Hydro and the industrial bonanza at Notodden and Rjukan. Last, but not least: Birkeland was responsible for 60 new patents for everything from margarine and caviar to an elctromagnetic cannon. But most important from our perspective today is perhaps that he laid the foundation for much of the modern research conducted in the field of space and solar physics.

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