Super K Sonic BOOOOum

The experience of a sonic boum

The experiential work Super K Sonic Booooum imagines what it would be like to see sub-atomic particles slam together at high speed and to experience a SONIC BOOUM (when a particle is travelling faster than the speed of light).

Offering a glimpse into the world of particle physics, Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian created a super-sized version of a Japanese neutrino observatory, where electrons and neutrinos, a type of fundamental particles that make up the universe, collide to create giant explosions. On entering the installation, visitors put on helmets, white rubber shoes and boiler suits. They then board dinghies that transport them through a space filled with water and covered with silver balloons where they meet the Nobel Prize Physics winner inside a boat. There, they experienced a light show and a sonic explosion designed by sound artist Tim Holden in partnership with Particle Physicist at Imperial College.

Super K Sonic Booooum was developed in collaboration with the scientific team of the Super Kamiokande experiment. Super Kamiokande is one of only a few neutrino observatories in the world. It is located a kilometre underneath Kamioka mountain in Japan and consists of a cylindrical steel tank,about 40m in diameter, filled with 50,000 tons of ultra-pure water, and lined with 11,146 hand blown glass photomultiplier tubes. Experiments like the Super Kamiokande are Physicists’ attempt to see into the dimensions that are inaccessible to us, to expand the horizon of our understanding of matter.

October 2010
Super K Sonic Boooum by Nelly Ben Hayoun -2009
Supported by Science And Technology Facility Council, the Institute of Physics, Manchester Science Festival, Manchester Metropolitan University and Tyvek.
Performer/ Physicists:
*Prof. Dave Wark Professor of Physics Imperial College London
*Dr Ben Still, Research Associate Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Ryan Terri, Research Associate Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Matthew Mallek Research Associate Imperial College London
*Dr Tim Nicholls Research Associate STFC Rutherford Appleton Lab
*Dr Phill Litchfield Research Associate University of Warwick
*Dr Jeanne Wilson Lecturer Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Francesca Di Lodovico Reader in Particle Physics Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Yoshi Uchida Senior Lecturer Imperial College London
*Dr Iain Bertram Senior Lecturer Lancaster University
*Dr Steve Boyd Senior Lecturer University of Warwick
*Dr Antonin Vacheret, Research Associate, Imperial College London
*Dr Jonathan Perkin, High Energy Physics group, University of Sheffield.
*Miss Melissa George, PhD Student Queen Mary, University of London
*Mr Patrick Masliah PhD Student Imperial College London
*Mr George Christdoulou PhD Student University of Liverpool
*Miss Rebekah Smith PhD Student Oxford University

Super K Sonic Boooum by Nelly Ben Hayoun -2009
Produced by Shunt Performer/ Physicists:
*Prof. Dave Wark Professor of Physics Imperial College London
*Dr Ben Still, Research Associate Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Ryan Terri, Research Associate Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Matthew Malek Research Associate Imperial College London
*Dr Francesca Di Lodovico Reader in Particle Physics Queen Mary, University of London
*Dr Yoshi Uchida Senior Lecturer Imperial College London
*Miss Melissa George, PhD Student Queen Mary, University of London