[community] Astrophysicist who is blind uses sonification in her work

Tara Robertson trobertson at langara.ca
Tue Feb 16 17:21:45 UTC 2016

This person, Wanda Diaz Merced, Sonic astrophysicist, is speaking today at TED in the 11am-12:45 (Pacific) timeslot. It's being streamed live at many public and academic libraries (list of places for Vancouver: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2016/02/watch-live-stream-ted-2016-vancouver-conference/) 

While searching for ways to study stellar radiation without relying on sight, Wanda Diaz Merced has developed a way to represent complex data about our universe as sound.

When Wanda Diaz Merced lost her sight in her early 20s, her dreams of studying stars in the visually oriented scientific world suffered a major setback -- until she discovered “sonification,” a way to turn huge data sets into audible sound using pitch, duration and other properties. Merced realized that she could use her ears to detect patterns in stellar radio data, and could uncover connections obscured by graphs and visual representation.

While working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Merced’s sonifications inspired musician and researcher Gerhard Sonnert to create X-Ray Hydra, an album of oddly jazzy music based on her audio representations.



-----Original Message-----
From: community [mailto:community-bounces at lists.idrc.ocadu.ca] On Behalf Of Harnum, Alan
Sent: February-15-16 7:49 AM
To: Inclusive Design Community
Subject: [community] Astrophysicist who is blind uses sonification in her work

Really interesting story (forwarded to me via @tararobertson in BC) about a space scientist who’s been using sonification around astronomical data.

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