Superposition: physicists and artists in conversation

Physics of patterns

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Lyndall brought some prototypes ideas with her - what she called 3D sketches - of clear plastic globes with diamante patterns lit by LEDs. I was really struck by how similar they looked to the photomultiplier (PMT) setups used by neutrino telescopes (Ice Cube, Antares). I really liked the different ways in which the experimental setups were echoed by the pattern of diamante and haberdashery items in the globes - and loved the idea of playing with light as it plays such a crucial role in our experiments.

When it came to my turn to talk I wanted to move away from the detectors and talk more on how we choose to represent the data we take. The individual data are quite basic but we combine and recognise patterns in the data to extract complex physics. I talked of how it is a case of distillation - from many 1000's of reading of basic energy, position and time to just a few numbers which determine the physics of the patterns seen in our detectors. From 'raw' data to reconstructing patterns to connecting the patterns into one physical meaning it all involves different representation of the data. Lyndall particularly liked a couple of ways in which I represented my own research - in rainbow spectrum of colour and a grid search in coloured dots.


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