John Matthias is a musician and composer. And a particle physicist. He’s speaking tonight at the final lecture in the Connections series at the Royal institution, Hearing Connections: The Sonification of Natural Systems, an examination of the processes behind transforming our neuronal connections into music. I asked him the same set of questions I asked the other presenters (see Daniel Jones’ answers), and particularly like John’s reading list.

What is the event?
Hearing Connections: The Sonification of Natural Systems, which is one of a series of talks at the Royal Institution this Autumn exploring the idea of ‘Connections’.

Why are you involved?
I am a composer and a physicist and I have been developing a whole range of sound installations and software musical instruments with a team of people at Plymouth University including Jane Grant, Nick Ryan, Eduardo Miranda, Kin Design and Tim Hodgson which explore the connectivity and adaptivity of artificial neuronal systems -models of artificial neurons, in order to create sound. Some of these sounds are sysnthesized and some are triggered by the artificial network from input or performed environmental sounds.

Why should people come?
It should be a very interesting event which explores some exciting new work which highlights direct interdisciplinarity between physical sciences, biological sciences and art and music.

What questions should they ask?
It would be great to get some questions about our motivations, or why we used particular systems, or maybe some contextual questions about some of the more pioneering work in this field…
or where it might lead…

What homework should they do?
There are some great books to read..Sync by Steven Strogatz, The Geometry of Biological Time</> by Arthur Winfree, Audio Culture by Cox and Warner, Sound Ideas: Music Machines and Experience by Aden Evens and the website of The Fragmented Orchestra, a large sound installation I was involved in with Jane Grant and Nick Ryan. Oh..and have a look at David Byrne’s TED’s brilliant and connected to these talks in an oblique way!

Come to Hearing Connections: The sonification of natural systems on Monday 21st November. Use code SONIC to get 50% off the ticket price!