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Thu Oct 23 00:21:32 SAST 2014

Higgs boson provides musical spark for science lovers

AFP Relaxnews | 28 August, 2012 13:29
The inspiration for some acapella science, tha Higgs boson.
Image by: Lucas Taylor / CERN

A decades-long quest for the elusive Higgs boson has sparked a creative rush in music, with compositions ranging from acapella and rap to a hypnotic symphony.

Tim Blais, a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has notched 7 000 YouTube views in five days with Rolling in the Higgs , a parody of Rolling in The Deep by British soul diva Adele.

"There's a collider under Geneva, reaching new energies that we've never achieved before," croons the clean-faced, bespectacled youngster.

"Finally we can see with this machine a brand new data peak of 125 GeV," go the lyrics, possibly the only time that gigaelectronvolts (GeV) – a unit of mass – have ever featured in a song.

The percussion sounds that Blais makes in the video come from his lips or throat, and the backup singers are all him, across high and low ranges.

Blais, a self-described "harmony addict working on a master's in theoretical physics", said it took him about 60 hours to finish the project.

"I'm kind of amazed by the feedback," Blais told AFP.

"One student from Spain told me his supervisor called my video 'The only good thing to come out of the Higgs discovery so far'. I'm flattered."

Blais' unusual success follows the Large Hadron Rap , which has notched up 7.4 million views since it was posted in July 2008.

The rap is the brainchild of Kate McAlpine, a Michigan State University grad on assignment to CERN, as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research is called.

Meanwhile, Domenico Vicinanza at the DANTE technology research company in Edinburgh has notched up a hit by setting the Higgs data to music through a "sonification" algorithm.

To the outsider, it bears a resemblance to gamelan, the Indonesian music of tuned percussion instruments.

The Higgs, dubbed the ‘God particle’, is believed to confer mass on matter.

Last month, scientists announced they had found a boson with Higgs-like characteristics, and work at Cern's Large Hadron Collider is ongoing to confirm its identity.

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