Project Leaders

Chris Harrison is an astrophysicist at Newcastle University in the UK. He has been working on complex science problems using large datasets for over 10 years. He is interested in making science more engaging and accessible for all and has led multiple engagement and educational projects that have been exhibited internationally. 

James Trayford works on astrophysics and computer science problems at the University of Portsmouth in the UK. He has over 10 years of experience working with giant computer simulations to solve challenging scientific problems. He is the lead developer of the STRAUSS code, which forms the basis of Audio Universe, investigating sonification applications for astronomy research and outreach. 

Core Team

Rose Shepherd is a PhD student at Newcastle University, who is using the STRAUSS code to explore new methods to represent spectra (1D and 3D) and time series data. The goals are to find alternatives to visual inspection, which can be very challenging with large and complex datasets, as well as find new methods to communicate complex phenomena. 

Sam Youles is a research software engineer at the University of Portsmouth. She is a developer of the STRAUSS code. 

Nicolas Bonne is an outreach officer at the University of Portsmouth. He uses his experience with having a vision impairment to inspire young people who are blind or vision impaired to pursue science. He leads the Tactile Universe project, and acts as a consultant for Audio Universe. 

Other Contributors

Anita Zanella is an astronomer working at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Padova, Italy, primarily interested in how stars are formed in distant galaxies. She is very active in promoting astronomy to the general public and has co-ordinated the work of Audio Universe in Italy. 

Rachel Lambert is a qualified teacher of vision impaired children and young people. She has acted as consultant throughout, contributing her experience and expertise in delivering accessible education. 

Vicky Fawcett is a postdoctoral researcher at Newcastle University who has organised and has delivered Audio Universe educational activities in schools and museums. She is leading the a new exhibition, and related educational workshops, about telescopes and Astronomy in North East England. This takes some of the accessibility features and ideas from Audio Universe. 

Leigh Harrison is a composer and retired music teacher. He brings a musician's perspective to the sonification process as well as his decades of experience working with young people. 

Patrick O'Neill is a PhD student in astronomy at Newcastle University. His research focuses mainly on pulsars. He has contributed to developing the educational multi-sensory workshops.

Sean Dougherty was a Masters student in astronomy at Newcastle University. He designed and created the Audio Universe website and contributed to the delivery of the educational activites.

Aishwarya Girdhar was a PhD student student at Newcastle University, Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich and the European Southern Observatory. She was the education and outreach lead for Audio Universe 2022-2023.  She now works at LMU, researching physics education. 

Sarah Kane is a PhD student in astrophysics at Cambridge University. She uses her experience with a vision impairement and desire for accessible science to support the design and development of sonification projects including Audio Universe, and a Universe of Sound. 

External Partners 

At Audio Universe we are very keen to engage with members of the community and experts from a wide range of domains, including education and communication. 

Museums and Planetaria 

We have a partnership with the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle. We have been developing resources alongside them and an educational program. 

We have angoing partnerships with planetaria and science mueusms: Royal Greenwich Museums, National Space Centre, Centre for Life, Think Tank, Sherwood Observatory, Jodrell Bank First Light Pavillion, and Liverpool Museums. 

Schools and Community Groups

We have been working the VIEWS group Newcastle. Who have provided valuable input on the resources that we have been developing. This is all on a volunteer basis.  They are a group supporting visually impaired people to visit their full potential.

We are delighted to be working alongside specialist teachers of visually impaired children and young people, including those from Newcastle Children's Vision Team and Sunnyside Academy. We have also presented to wider community groups of blind and visually impaired people including: MySight Nottingham and the Royal National Institute of the Blind (UK).  

Other Companies and Organisations

Previously we have worked with BMW and Arup Acoustic engineer on one of our first projects: A Dark Tour of the Universe.  

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.