September 5 → 7:00 pm8:00 pm

Swimming Pool, Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall

Hear how gravitational waves tell us of events far across the universe – and then get into the pool and enjoy music and sound art which can be heard both above the water surface and below.

Audiovisual artist Leon Trimble’s previous projects have included bouncing sounds from the Abbey Road Studios off the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon via the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope. Now for the ‘Gravity Synth’ collaboration with Glasgow University researchers, he is joined by Joel Cahen, creator of the Wet Sounds underwater listening experience. Dr Andrew Spencer from Glasgow University provides a 15-minute introduction about gravitational waves before everyone takes to the water.

This event has been made possible by partial funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) through Public Engagement Spark Awards 2023 round 2.

“The ripples on the surface of swimming pools are similar to the ripples in spacetime caused by gravitational waves. The event offers attendees a unique opportunity to really feel how sound passes through them and consider how, until very recently, spacetime was regularly ringing with the sounds of massive astronomical events that we just didn’t have the ability to hear. Now, thanks to gravitational wave observatories around the world, we can listen to the universe in an entirely new way.”

– Dr Andrew Spencer

“As soon as I heard that gravitational wave detectors ‘listen’ to the universe for signs of ripples in spacetime, and that signals are interpreted as characteristic ‘chirps’, I knew that astrophysics could be the foundation for some fantastic music.”

– Leon Trimble

Numbers limited: booking essential. For age 8 and over only, and children should be accompanied by parents. Make sure to bring swimwear and towels.

Also make sure you read the Pickaquoy Swimming Pool’s Admissions Policy and its User Etiquette.

You can also read about the success of the event at the Arlington Baths Club, Glasgow, in November 2023.



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