On the 4th of July at a packed press conference in Geneva, scientists at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, announced that they had found the elusive Higgs boson — the so-called God particle, credited with giving all other particles mass. Physicists had been in pursuit of the Higgs for close to 50 years, and with the help of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, they were able to finally find near-conclusive evidence of its existence in their data.
The story was front-page news around the world, and scientists and journalists scrambled to tell the public exactly what the Higgs boson was and what it did — not always successfully.
(EXCLUSIVE: TIME talks to the Higgs Boson Discoverers)
But amid all the attention, one important question was never addressed: What does the Higgs boson sound like? Pulling a page from the Real Housewives’ and/or Paris Hilton’s playbook, the Higgs is stretching its 15 minutes of fame into an extended run at show business. And you know what? It can really sing.
“As soon as the announcement was made, we begun working on the sonification of the experimental data,” Domenico Vicinanza, product manager at Dante (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe), told Discovery News. Vicinanza along with other computer scientists from the ASTRA Project and INFN Cantania worked together to express the data collected by the Higgs boson search in a musical pattern. They assigned notes to data intervals and then extracted melodies from the resulting repeating patterns. “Sonification worked by attaching a musical note to each data. So, when you hear the resulting melody you really are hearing the data,” Vicinanza said. You can listen to the short composition here and judge for yourself.