How neutrons and neutrinos translate into crotchets and quavers

What unites The Strokes, Gilbert and Sullivan, Brian Eno and Alpine Kat? All of them have in some way been musically connected with CERN. German composer of electronic music, Bernd Kistenmacher, is the latest in the long list of musicians to have been inspired by CERN.


There seems to be a natural affinity between music and science. How else can it be that CERN has inspired so many different musicians to be creative? From amateurs composing in their bedrooms to professional musicians, from rock stars like Incubus to classical composers like Philip Glass, CERN’s huge-scale science and technology researching the tiniest of particles have again and again stirred artists into creative action.

Electromusician Bernd Kistenmacher from Berlin, Germany is no exception. In his case, his interest in CERN goes back to a wider philosophical question: “Where do we come from?” Having composed two albums looking at the origins of the Universe in astronomy and in the depths of the sea, for him it was a natural progression to turn to particle physics with the release of his latest album entitled “Antimatter,” which has a foreword by CERN’s Rolf Landua. “The stretch from looking at the planets, the largest things in the sky, to considering elementary particles which are the smallest thing we can conceive of, is like a journey through the Universe itself,” he says.

The son of an engineer, Kistenmacher is also fascinated by the technology developed and used by CERN. “Who couldn’t be?” he says, adding: “Every technical process has its own form of beauty. This type of beauty can’t be invented, it just exists, and this is what I try to recreate in my music.”

If you would like an mp3 file of Kistenmacher’s “Antimatter” CD and you have a CERN e-mail address, you can write to and ask for the free download available exclusively to CERN employees and users.

by Joannah Caborn Wengler