Date(s) - 05/11/2022
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Please use this zoom link for the event.


Please join us for a UW Data Science Seminar event on Wednesday, May 11th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The seminar will feature Juan Pampin, UW Professor of Music Composition and faculty of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS); Daniela Huppenkothen, staff scientist, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research; James Davenport, UW Astronomy Research Assistant Professor; and James Wenlock, composer and software developer.

The event will be held in the UW Physics and Astronomy Auditorium (PAA 118)

“Star Sounder: An Auditory Exploration of the Milky Way”

Abstract: Sonification is the process of turning data into sound to provide new tools for exploration. We have produced a cross-discipline exploration of astronomical time series data from the NASA Kepler mission, which monitored the brightness of thousands of stars every 30 minutes for 4 years. These data have been used to discover changes in brightness from eclipsing binary systems and young energetic flare stars, to white dwarfs and massive pulsating stars near the end of their lives. The physics of each type of “variable star” creates a unique pattern of brightness changes, which results in an enormous variety of sounds. In this presentation we will discuss our methodology, in particular the way astronomical time series data was translated into sound. We will also present a guided tour of our Star Sounder website, which allows users to explore an interactive “H-R” diagram and listen to the sonified light curves from over 2000 stars.


Juan Pampin is Professor of Music Composition at University of Washington and founding faculty member of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS), for which he currently serves as Director. He received an MA in Composition from Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, France, and a DMA in Composition from Stanford University, where he studied with composer Jonathan Harvey. Juan Pampin’s work explores the concepts of site, memory, and materiality using algorithmic strategies to produce aural phenomena. His sound installations –consisting of site-specific and immersive sonic environments– have been exhibited at many international venues and festivals. Juan Pampin’s music compositions –including pieces for instrumental, digital, and mixed media– have been performed around the world by world-class soloists and ensembles. His “Percussion Cycle” –recorded by Les Percussions de Strasbourg– has been recently released on CD by Sargasso Records, London.

Daniela Huppenkothen is a staff scientist at the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and an NWO WISE Fellow. Her research is focused on understanding black holes and the most energetic phenomena in our universe through the application of (astro)statistics and machine learning. She is particularly interested in time series analysis and simulation-based inference.

James Davenport is a Research Assistant Professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Astronomy, and Associate Director of the DIRAC Institute. His research program focuses on analyzing time domain, large survey astronomy, with an emphasis on magnetically active stars from telescope surveys like NASA’s Kepler and TESS missions.

James Wenlock is a composer and software developer with an Individualized Study degree in Computational Auricular Acoustics from the University of Washington. Notable works in which he has been involved as software developer include: a three dimensional reverb for the Supercollider music platform, the Encephalophone – an instrument that turns brain waves into music, created by Dr. Thomas Deuel, and “We Are All Made of Light” – an award winning interactive light installation by Maja Petrić.


The UW Data Science Seminar is an annual lecture series at the University of Washington that hosts scholars working across applied areas of data science, such as the sciences, engineering, humanities and arts along with methodological areas in data science, such as computer science, applied math and statistics. Our presenters come from all domain fields and include occasional external speakers from regional partners, governmental agencies and industry.

The 2021-2022 seminars will be both in-person and virtual, and are free and open to the public.