Awesome Sauce Music Friday

Awesome Sauce Music Friday! Microbial Bebop Edition

Woo hoo! It’s music Friday of the awesome sauce variety. Time to jam.

I love it when art and science meld together to create something beautiful. (BTW, have you been to Mad Art Lab lately?) That’s exactly what systems biologist Peter Larsen has done. Larsen works with heaps of data and, while working with microbiologist Jack Gilbert, realized there is something…jazzy…about the patterns of microbial biodiversity.

So he turned the data into music:

To turn some of it into music, Larsen mapped environmental conditions–daylight, temperature, phosphorous level–to specific chords. When the conditions change, the chords change. Then he took the microbial concentrations at each of those environmental conditions—how much of a certain type of microbe exists at a certain temperature, say—and mapped each one to a scale. The chords play in a particular scale, depending on how the environmental conditions affect the size of the microbe communities. “The same population would sound different in the key of sunlight,” says Larsen, “than in the key of nitrogen.” The key of sunlight? That’s genius.

Indeed! I love these so much that I’ve included a couple of tunes. So put on your sunglasses and whip out your jazz hands, you hep cat, and enjoy your Friday.

Want more music? Check out Lab Tracks on Mad Art Lab!

Do you have a delightfully nerdy recommendation? Leave them in the comments, or contact us here.

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Mindy is an attorney and Managing Editor of Teen Skepchick. She hates the law and loves stars. You can follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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