Music provides unique accompaniment to nuclear physics

08 October 2015

The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams Project hosted a special "50 Years of Beam at MSU" event today. A unique portion of the program included seven original musical compositions specially created to celebrate this milestone. The three composers introduced each of the pieces, explaining how they created the works and how they interpreted nuclear physics through their music. All of the musical pieces are available online (see below). The composers are:

Benjamin R. Fuhrman: A graduate of the doctoral program in music composition at MSU, Benjamin also holds a master’s degree in music composition from MSU, and a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Hope College. He maintains an active role as a performer and teacher of mandolin at the MSU Community Music School.

Matthew Schoendorff: Having earned his doctorate in music composition at MSU, Matthew also holds a master’s degree in music composition from MSU, and a bachelor’s degree in music education and composition from Western Michigan University. He is the composer-in-residence for the NUCLASSICA ensemble, Theory and Composition Chair at the National Music Institute for Young Artists (currently in affiliation with the Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), and teaches music theory and composition at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Mark Sullivan: A composer, photographer, and educator, whose compositions have been performed widely, Mark's images are featured in books and exhibitions. During several decades at MSU, he has taught music composition, computer music, photography, and aesthetic and cultural theory, has written on the relationship between music, movement, and language, and has created integrated media arts programs for youth.

The composers' music is available online:

"Chart of the Nuclides" - Mark Sullivan (with animation)


"The Atomic Wait" - Matthew Schoendorff


"Three Isotopes" - Mark Sullivan


"Mind the Gaps" - Benjamin R. Fuhrman (with animation)


"Kaleisotope" - Matthew Schoendorff


"Neutron Star" - Mark Sullivan (with animation)