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Biophysics and bioengineering

Biophysics and bioengineering

Music from our material world

08 Mar 2022 James Dacey

From Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” concertos to the Beatles’ “Blackbird” – musicians have always been inspired by nature. Many artists have even incorporated the sounds of nature into their songs. Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are taking a more fundamental approach, exploring the music of the building blocks of life and how they interact in harmonious ways.

In this episode of the Physics World Stories podcast, host Andrew Glester speaks with Markus Buehler, an MIT engineer who is translating living structures into sound – and vice versa. In one project he has created harmonies informed by the structure of spider webs, through research that could help uncover the secrets of spider silk. More recently his team translated the spike protein of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 into sound to visualize its vibrational properties.

Find out more in this feature article by Markus Buehler and Mario Milazzo, originally published in the January 2022 issue of Physics World.

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