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Light show

Spin Excitations

Flute, Alto saxophone, Drum kit, Cello, Piano

Duration: ~5 minutes

RELATED: #Fast  #STEM  #Earnest

Spin Excitations is a musical modeling of magnetic moments at the quantum level. Researchers developing materials known as quantum spin liquids seek to maximize their short-range order by harnessing quantum fluctuations. These systems must consequently balance regularity and chaos. When working with such novel materials and techniques, scientists must also give way to the humbling concept of emergence: the possibility of small and simple components coalescing into a synergetic, complex, and unexpected creation.

As part of the PRiSM 8 Cubed project, I had the honor of working with scientist Dr. Lucy Clark. In addition to learning about Dr. Clark’s field and research, we visited the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (Didcot, United Kingdom) where she conducts her experiments that use scattering. We toured the facility with her frequent collaborator Dr. Ross Stewart. I am very grateful to both scientists for their brilliance, generosity, and extreme patience— after all, I began our collaboration thinking only of refrigerator souvenirs when I heard the word “magnet.” Having now encountered just the tip of their research, I am full of wonder at the incredible forces at work in our world.

Commissioned by the PRiSM Centre Royal Northern College of Music and

written in collaboration with scientist Dr. Lucy Clark, UK, 2020

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