Article published on Joca 148
You must have already seen the image of the new coronavirus around – a sphere with a kind of crown around it, which resembles antennas or horns. Now, thanks to the work of a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the United States, you can also listen to the virus in the form of music.
A study published on March 17th and led by Markus Buehler, a researcher who is a musician in his free time, used a technique called sonification to translate the structure of the virus into musical notes. A musical note (do, re, mi, fa, sol, and so forth) was assigned to each amino acid. The musical instruments to recreate the sounds were chosen based on the scientists’ personal taste – the most used was the koto, a traditional stringed instrument from Japan.
Afterwards, it was the turn of artificial intelligence to come into action. A computer played the notes and adjusted the volume and duration based on the actual structures of each amino acid. The result is calm music that you can listen to on Joca’s website – www.jornaljoca.com.br
How is this useful?
You might be asking yourself what led scientists to create music during the pandemic. In fact, the study has major scientific value and could even help speed up finding the cure for covid-19. This is because the conversion to music makes it easier to study the virus and find patterns and different traits in it.
“Our brains are excellent at processing sound!”, explained Buehler to the MIT News website. ““In one sweep, our ears pick up all of its… features: pitch, timbre, volume, melody, rhythm, and chords. We would need a high-powered microscope to see the equivalent detail in an image, and we could never see it all at once. Also, scientists can change the duration of the notes to simulate how medication will act on the virus, for example.
Sources: Aip, Classifm, Eurekalert, Istoé, MIT News, O Globo, and Superinteressante
1) Why did scientists create the virus music?
a) Because they needed time to relax
b) They did this unintentionally.
c) To test patients’ reaction when hearing sound
d) Because music can help study the virus
2) Listen to the music on Joca’s website and tell us what you thought of it.