Sonata in LHCb: The sound of antimatter

In a recent paper the LHCb collaboration at CERN observed two particles changing from matter into antimatter and back again. Now the collaboration has turned that data into sound, so that you can listen to the music of antimatter.

For every fundamental particle, there is a corresponding antiparticle. Antimatter particles share the same mass as their matter counterparts, but qualities such as electric charge are opposite. Though most particles exist as either matter or antimatter, some particles can switch between the two.

B0 and B0s are such particles. They oscillate between their matter and antimatter equivalents up to 3 million million times per second. If that frequency were converted directly into the pitch of a musical note, it would be much too high for the human ear to hear. So the LHCb collaboration has slowed down the frequency millions of times so that we can enjoy the oscillation as detectable sound.

In the video below, a blue box moves from left to right across the screen, depicting the area of the graph you can hear. At first you hear only white noise – random background fluctuations of particles in the LHCb detector. But the two peaks on the graph come from the B0 and B0s particles. First you hear the loud tone of B0 – B0 oscillations, then background noise followed by the tone of the B0s – B0s oscillations. The higher frequency B0s – B0s oscillations are experimentally more difficult to observe, which is why their tone is not as loud.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the music of particles switching to antimatter and back millions of times per second.

Now that's vibrato.

Read the technical paper

Check out this explanation video of the data sonification from LHCb: