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RADIOACTIVE ORCHESTRA is an artistic, musical and pedagogical project about creating music using radioactive isotopes. In collaboration with nuclear physicists, media artist Kristofer Hagbard have created musical algorithms based on the scientists’ models of how radiation is emitted from various isotopes. Music producer Axel Boman created songs based on melodies and sounds from the software. The project is managed by Georg Herlitz.

The result is: a record, a website, live music performed with the algorithms and videos explaining the project.

The musical and artistic ambitions is about exploring a world that is not available to our senses and finding musically interesting pattens and to render them in a way that both resonates with popular culture while staying close to the subject matter.

The pedagogical aspect aims to inspire young people to learn about the natural sciences by making one of its most hidden phenomenas available in a new way and exposing complexity and beauty in the strange world of the atomic nuclei – using music.


TEDx Talk - Showing out new live musical instrument.


VIDEO PRESENTATION - This video explains the project of The RADIOACTIVE ORCHESTRA.


MUSICAL RECORDING - The project has also resulted in the musical creation RADIOACTIVE ORCHESTRA featuring AXEL BOMAN. This 6 track EP is now available at iTunes storeBeatport, Zero” and most importantly – to be released on a limited vinyl record in a very near future. Preview the songs below.

A-side: B-side:

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A1: γ-spectra of Barium-133, keV = Hz (exerpt)

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B1: Two nuclei of Xenon-131 alternating E-level ξ and 1721 keV (exerpt)

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A2: γ-decay patterns of Nickel-56 at E-level ξ and Calcium-48 at E-level 8278 keV (exerpt)

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B2: Technetium-89, Technetium-99 and Zinc-69 all at E-level ξ (exerpt)

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A3: Three exited nuclei of Lutetium-167 and γ-spectra of Cobalt-60 (exerpt)

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B3: Three exited nuclei of Lutetium-167 at E-level ξ (exerpt)


ONLINE MUSIC COMPOSER - The online Radioactive Orchestra is a simple way to make melodies from almost any known Isotope in the Chart of Nuclides. Melodies are created by simulating what happens in the atomic nucleus when it decays from an excited nuclear state down to its ground state. In this process a single gamma photon is released for every step of energy loss. We let the photon play a note where the energy of the photon is represented by the pitch of the note. This is also shown visually with a ray coming out of an atomic nucleus.

Every isotope has its unique set of possible excited states 3 and decay patterns, creating its own musical fingerprint. Try it out!


WATCH & LISTEN - The Radioactive Orchestra featuring Axel Boman