Radioactive music

Radioactive music

Make music out of decaying atoms

DJ Axel Boman is releasing an unusual album of electronic music with a twist. His gets his sounds from the Radioactive Orchestra. Have a listen to this:

Now you can make music out of radiation too! Radioactive Orchestra is one of the most fun - and distracting - sites on the web. Have a go and see what music you can make! Here's a pic of my first attempt:

Radioactive Orchestra

Where does the music come from?

Radioactive Orchestra converted radiation emitted by isotopes into musical notes. Atoms of the same element come in different forms, called isotopes. Some isotopes are unstable, normally because there are too many protons or neutrons in the nucleus. Unstable isotopes try to become stable by getting rid of particles or energy from the nucleus. This is a type of radiation - ionising radiation. Ionising radiation can knock electrons off other atoms that it hits, meaning that it can be harmful to living things. However, ionising radiation can also be used to treat cancer and in medical imaging.

In the Radioactive Orchestra, the energy of the radiation given off by the isotope determines what the music sounds like. High energy radiation is translated into a high-pitched note, whereas low energy radiation is translated into a low-pitched note. Put different isotopes together and you can create something that sounds awesome! Go to Radioactive Orchestra to make your own music out of radiation.

Find out more about ionising radiation on physics.org.

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