You are here

Exploring Science Through Labyrhythyms

18 September 2015

On any Thursday afternoon at TRIUMF, you’ll find a cluster of researchers in the auditorium, eagerly awaiting updates on the latest research through the TRIUMF's seminar series. In August, David Harris presented his latest findings as he dove into the motivation behind his ‘art meets science’ research program.

David, a trained physicist turned communicator turned artist, spent a two-week residency at the laboratory to meet with researchers, collect audio samples, and finally to present his research findings back to staff.

“Can one make art that is credible to both art and science? That’s always a reoccurring question,” said David.During these two weeks, my goal was to create sound art pieces that get physicists and staff to come away with a new way of looking at their environment.”

During the seminar, David sampled two audio pieces that were created during his residency. One of these sound art pieces, Labyrhythyms, is “an exploration into the nature of scientific jargon.” To create the piece, David invited a handful of TRIUMF researchers to read the abstract of their favourite scientific paper and then overlaid the various recordings in a beautifully composed segment.

“Jargon exists for a reason,” notes David. “Use it judicially and you can share your scientific endeavor with an audience.” David cautions that the drawbacks to using jargon may be subtler than simply alienating an audience. “It can also lull people into a false sense of understanding and security.”

The TRIUMF Artist in Residence program explores the space where art and science collide. As an outreach activity, the program brings both artists and TRIUMF's researchers together to explore new ways of thinking about science, the scientific method, and our world.

For more on David’s research and explorations of art + science, visit his website at

–Melissa Baluk, Communications Coordinator