Robert Alexander, PhD, is a Sonification Specialist with the Solar Heliospheric Research Group at the University of Michigan, where he is currently a director and chief innovation officer. As a NASA JPFP fellow, he works with scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center to uncover new features in the solar wind through auditory analysis. Using this novel approach, his collaborative team produced the most sensitive diagnostic of the electron temperature in the solar wind source region. For this research, Alexander received an Outstanding Achievement award from the International Community on Auditory Display, and his work has received support from organizations such as Yahoo!, the Rackham Graduate School, and NASA. He has constructed software interfaces for sonifying data from a wide range of sources including the human genome, real-time EEG data streams, weather patterns, celestial orbits, and binary-star systems. As a multimedia artist, musician, and composer, Alexander has performed at venues such as the Metropolitan Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well international stages in Europe and South America.
Here he describes his work inducing meditative states utilizing an approach that combines sound and music with biofeedback measurements. In particular, he focuses on the breathing rates of his participants. As a scientist and a composer, he has learned how to associate different sounds, and combinations of sounds, with different states of consciousness.
(Recorded on May 2, 2016)
Published on May 6, 2016