Scales of Sound

  • Speakers
  • Magdalena Fuentes, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Integrated Design & Media, New York University
  • Chiara Mingarelli, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut
    Guest Researcher, Center for Computational Astrophysics, Flatiron Institute
  • Camille NormentArtist
Date & Time

About Presents
Presents is a free events series exploring the connections between science, culture and society. Join our scientists and special guests as they discuss the intersections of their work, followed by an evening of conversation over drinks. It’s an opportunity to hear new perspectives that may challenge your assumptions and stoke your curiosity. Meet interesting people who share a passion for ideas and discovery. Come for the conversation, stay for the connections.

From the microscopic to the macroscopic, how do we understand the world through sound? Sound permeates every element of our daily experience, creating patterns of recognition and alerting us to our surroundings in all that we do – a sensation that is often heightened for New Yorkers.

In addition to adding texture to our lives, how can sound act as a portal to cultural memories or help us imagine the far reaches of space?

Join us for a discussion on the many dimensions of sound that integrates perspectives from astrophysics, fine art, and environmental sonic data.

Chiara Mingarelli is a gravitational wave astrophysicist who studies how supermassive black holes merge – and how they might sound.

Camille Norment is a multimedia artist whose practice examines layered cultural histories and social dissonance through interactive sculpture, performance, and audio feedback loops.

Magdalena Fuentes is a sound researcher whose work includes a multi-year acoustical survey of sounds in New York City throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

These sonic investigators will sit down with Kelsa Trom, community network manager at the Simons Foundation, to discuss how sound is formative to our relationship with our bodies, its connection to our cultural history, and understanding our place in the universe.

About the Speakers:

Magdalena Fuentes is an assistant professor at New York University. She works in machine listening, a field of study that combines signal processing and machine learning for machines to make sense of natural sounds, everyday noises and music. She is interested in methods at the intersection of sound, vision and natural language that can be easily adapted to different users and contexts. Magdalena holds a Ph.D. from Université Paris Saclay in France and a B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering at Universidad de la República, Uruguay.

Chiara Mingarelli is a gravitational-wave astrophysicist investigating how supermassive black holes in the centers of massive galaxies merge. She does this research by predicting the supermassive black holes’ nanohertz gravitational-wave signatures, which pulsar timing array experiments will soon detect. With the pulsar timing data, she will hunt for lone and paired supermassive black holes and the gravitational wave background created by the merger of the colossal objects.

She is an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut and a guest researcher at the Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA) at the Flatiron Institute. Before joining the CCA, she was a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow at Caltech and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. She completed her Ph.D. in 2014 at the University of Birmingham in England under Alberto Vecchio.

Camille Norment is an Oslo-based multimedia artist who works with sound, sculpture, drawing, performance and video. She utilizes the notion of “cultural psychoacoustics” as both an aesthetic and conceptual framework. She defines this term as the investigation of socio-cultural phenomena through sound and music — particularly instances of sonic and social dissonance. Norment received a B.A. in comparative literature and art history from the University of Michigan in 1992. At New York University, she received an MFA in 1994 and an M.A. in Interactive Telecommunications in 1998. She also attended the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1994–1995.

To attend this in-person event, you will need to:

  • Register in advance
  • Provide valid photo ID upon entering the building
  • Present your digital or printed Eventbrite ticket confirmation; make sure it is for the correct event and that the name on it matches your ID
  • At this time, all guests at the Simons Foundation must be over the age of 18.

By registering to attend this event, participants agree to follow the Simons Foundation Code of Conduct.

Please note that when you enter the Simons Foundation buildings, you are attesting that you are not experiencing COVID symptoms and are not knowingly positive for COVID.

5:30 p.m. Doors open
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. In Conversation
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Reception

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