Artist-in-Residence at the department of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Physics and Astronomy Artists-in-Residence Program began in 2016 and provides undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences an opportunity to submit research projects that respond to physics and astronomy research from creative visual arts, literary, film, performance, music composition, and design perspectives.

I establish main binary sounds that interact with each other to simulate supernovae. My music takes its form from the shape of their explosion, which takes 20 days to reach their peak brightness and then another couple of months to fade exponentially. I demonstrate this shape by illustrating the density and velocity of sound in a ratio in a given time. This form is not unusual in music science, and it resembles ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release). Since music is abstract and cannot convey this type of scientific information in a scientific manner (unless another form of infor- mation such as words, visuals, statistics, etc. is used in conjunction with sounds), presenting an overall structure and shape would be more tan- gible than defining particular details. Moreover, after the explosion and its exponential decay, I progressively reduce my sounds to silence, creating a new atmosphere that corresponds to astronomical concepts such as dark energy, black holes, etc. To accomplish the section on dark energy, I also direct the audience’s attention to a visual element in which I use a violin with a very tiny speaker placed within to generate sounds. Normally, we would expect to hear a violin being played by a person, but this time, it emerges on its own terms.

Ramin Akhavijou “Dark Violin
Faculty researcher: Michael Wood-Vasey
Artistic Advisor: Eric Moe