Using Stellar Evolution to Generate Music Score: Part 1


As part of our upcoming performance Our Star Will Die Alone, we wanted to generate a music score inspired by the actual evolution of a star as it evolves off of the main sequence – as it “dies” so to speak.  To generate this, we used an open source software package called MESA (Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics) developed by a team of astronomers and utilized by an extensive community of researchers, teachers and students to study how a star evolves with time (the code will be used in Adam’s undergraduate and graduate stellar astrophysics courses at UCSD this year).

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Notes from the 1st Deep Listening Conference

photo (2)

On July 12-14th, in the impressive EMPAC center on the campus of Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, the 1st International Conference on Deep Listening was held, and I (Adam) had the unexpected pleasure to present my ongoing Physics Gestures work at it.


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Adam Burgasser selected to present Gestural Physics at the First International Conference on Deep Listening

Adam Burgasser will be presenting his work investigating a gestural/physical language for Physics at the 1st annual International Conference in Deep Listening, to be held at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY, July 12-14.  Adam will discuss the foundations for the gestural terms and operations he is developing, and how they may be used to educate and convey the mathematical elegance of Physics through movement.


TDDE 131 Week 3: Data Visualization

[Critique of last week’s assignments]
[Data Visualization]
[Data Visualization Lab]

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Gestural Physics Presentation at Audacious Speculations

The video for Adam’s presentation on his Gestural Physics idea can be watched on YouTube beginning at 1:10:10:

TDDE 131 Week 2: Cage Score and Time Series Data



[Assignment Critique]
[The Cage Model]
[Performing Variations II]
[Astronomical Data]




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Readings for TDDE 131

All readings for TDDE 131 are now posted at

this is a password-protected site, so please contact the instructors if you are a student and need access.

A Physical Langauge for Physics at Audacious Speculations April 12th

Adam Burgasser will be presenting his work investigating a physical language for Physics at the Audacious Speculations in Art, Science, Activism and Entrepreneuralism next Friday, April 12th from 6-9pm at CalIT2 at UCSD.  There will be a live webcast at this page. Come early to Sixth College’s ARTifact Gallery to see associated artwork for the show (like the image below – what do you think this means?)

The Dance of Physics: Developing a Conceptual Language for Physics Through Physical Movement

As someone who teaches basic mechanics to hundreds of college students each year, I see again and again the frustration many students have in understanding and manipulating the symbolic constructions we use to describe motion, forces, particles, etc.  Beside standard mathematical notation (which is already challenging for many), the symbolic representation of physical quantities includes letters from both Latin and Greek alphabets, some of which are obvious to an English speaker (e.g., m for mass, F for force) and some of which are not (e.g., p for momentum, µ for the coefficient of friction), and none of which may be clear to someone accustomed to an Arabic or Chinese alphabet or spells mass as khối lượng (as the Vietnamese do).  There is also a fair deal of redundancy (e.g., g is used for both the surface gravity on Earth and for the mass unit of grams) that can lead to confusion. Most importantly, decoding this symbology draws mental energy away from understanding the underlying concepts, leading to the strange situation in which we end up teaching “concepts” and “problem solving” as distinct activities.  It is no wonder that most students decide Physics is just too hard.

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Adrian Phillips describes his Project Planetaria Summer Research Project

Adrian Phillips, a UCSD student in Visual Arts, worked with Project Planetaria investigator Michael Trigilio over the summer of 2012 through the CalIT2 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars Program to develop some of the ideas we are pursuing.  Specifically, he investigated PPD construction, interaction with select media, and representations of movement.  Here’s a Adrian himself talking about his summer research:

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