Research

Overview

Our work at Audio Universe is underpinned by research activities, which we publish in a variety of journals (including science-domain specific journals, communication/education journals, and sonification journals). See our full list of publications.  


Although we have mostly published on topics related to astronomy research and education to date, we are now moving to explore how our methods can be applied into other domains.  As part of our work we have co-ordinated a series of publications to review and make a critical assessment of the field of sonification  in astronomy (for research, outreach and accessibility).  These are published in a special edition of Nature Astronomy (November 2022). 


We also have been working with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) who have prepared a report on sonification in space sciences and its contribution to accessibility in space science.  As part of this Chris was one of five panelists on a public webinar hosted by UNOOSA, for which there is a recording on YouTube.


Please get in touch if you want to find out more about our research. 

Code and data exploration

For producing our own sonifications (turning data into sound), we are primarily using our flexible sonification code, STRAUSS. This code is open-source and we welcome contributions and ideas. An introduction to the STRAUSS code  is available in Trayford et al. 2023, published in the ICAD proceedings in 2023. 


We have used this code to explore methods to represent data with sound, including a study on how to hear properties in galaxy spectra in Trayford et al. 2023, published in the Royal Astronomical Society's Techniques and Instrumentation Journal. 

Education and accessibility

For the accessibility and public engagement side, we have released a publication on the application of sonification to make an accessible astronomy show in Astronomy & Geophysics (Harrison et al. 2022) and an evaluation of that show in Communicating Astronomy to the Public Journal (Harrison et al. 2023). A Question and Answer article on accessibility in astronomy, with interviews with astronomers and science communicators who are blind or have low vision, has also been published in Nature Astronomy (Noel-Storr & Willebrands 2022). 

What is sonification anyway?

Sonification is the process of turning data into audio (any sounds except speech). Within the past few years, more and more scientists have been exploring the research possibilities of data sonification across many fields. You can find more sonification projects on the Data Sonification Archive: https://sonification.design/. 

In this 14 minute video, James Trayford, is interviewed as part of "Physics Chat" from the Field of View podcast, to explain our different motivations for turning data into sound and provides some examples from his sonification code STRAUSS. He then introduces his astronomy research on galaxy formation!

Find out more about our STRAUSS code.

Interdisciplinary Research

We are working with experts from around the world from a variety of disciplines, including sound designers, sound perception experts, educators and accessibility experts.

Research underpins all of our work. We are working to improve the approaches of sonification and explore how best to maximise its potential for scientific discovery.  Our team are publishing to share our knowledge, discoveries and recommendations.  In this video we hear from those researchers, who attended our multi-disciplinary workshop "Audible Universe 2" on sonification of astronomical data in 2022