Particle Physics Windchime

From Matt Bellis

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The Particle Physics Windchime (PPW) project grew out of a first-order version developed at the Science Hack Day SF in 2010. The PPW is being developed and maintained by Matt Bellis and David Harris.

Ppw 3D image.jpg Ppw 2D image.jpg

Join the Google discussion group on this work!



The PPW is written using the processing programming language. One very nice feature, is that it can create a transferable application (using Java) for different platforms.

'The 2D version is now deprecated. No further development will be done with that version.


  • When you have downloaded the .zip file, uncompress it using the tool of your choice (unzip, StuffIt).
  • This creates a directory called app_ppw_2D_<OS> or app_ppw_3D_<OS>, where OS is the operating system (linux, macosx or windows).
  • Running the app is slightly different, depending on your Operating System (OS).
    • Linux
      • Go into this directory and run the executable.
cd app_ppw_2D_linux
    • Mac OSX
      • Go into the app_ppw_2D_macosx/app_ppw_3D_macosx directory.
      • In here, you should see an Application (actually it's directory) called (or Double click on the icon/name to run the program.
    • Windows
      • Go into the app_ppw_2D_windows/app_ppw_2D_windows directory.
      • In here, you should see an executable called ppw_2D (or ppw_3D). Double click on the icon/name to run the program.

Using the Particle Physics Windchime

Run it!

  • Select a file using the Select a File dropdown menu at the top.
    • Note that these files represent simulations of different particle physics processes.
  • Press Play.

Change it!

  • Try different files (physics processes). Do they look/sound different?
  • Try different Mappings using the Mapping drop down menu at the top.
    • These are presets that take different particle physics/detector properties and map them onto the sonic characteristics.
  • Change the speed using the Tempo slider in the lower-left.
  • In the 3D version, you can change the view using the mouse and the mouse buttons (PeasyCam libraray in processing).
    • Left button: rotate
    • Middle button: translate
    • Right button: zoom

Coming soon!

  • The purple dropdown menus will be enabled in a future release so that you can select your own sonic mappings.

Known bugs

  • The purple dropdown menus don't do anything right now. They're just placeholders.
  • The text is blurry on the GUI in the 3D app. This is a known issue related to my using the P3D renderer. The problem goes away if I use the OPENGL renderer, but with that, I get some crashes. It could be related to my Linux/Java installation.


This project makes use of the following tools:

Thanks to everyone who helped on this project during the Science Hack Day SF. Not just our group of developers, but the organizers of the event itself.

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