Robert Alexander II

  • Status: Ph.D. Candidate.
  • Advisors: Thomas Zurbuchen, Mary Simoni.
  • Description of Research: Robert Alexander is a Sonification Specialist with the Solar Heliospheric Research Group at the University of Michigan, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Design Science program. As a NASA JPFP fellow, he works with scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center to uncover new features in the solar wind through auditory analysis. Using this novel approach, his collaborative team produced the most sensitive diagnostic of the electron temperature in the solar wind source region. For this research, Alexander received an Outstanding Achievement award from the International Community on Auditory Display, and his work has received support from organizations such as Yahoo!, the Rackham Graduate School, and NASA. He has constructed software interfaces for sonifying data from a wide range of sources including the human genome, real-time EEG data streams, weather patterns, celestial orbits, and binary-star systems. As a multimedia artist, musician, and composer, Alexander has performed at venues such as the Metropolitan Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well international stages in Europe and South America.
  • Keywords: Sonification, exploratory data analysis, data mining, music, space research, human centered design.
  • Research Disciplines: Research and Psychoacoustics.
  • Link with more info:
  • Awards:
    • NASA-Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship Project (JPFP) Award
    • International Community for Auditory Display: Outstanding Achievement Award
    • CEDO Ph.D. Candidate Achievement Award.
    • University of Michigan Dean's Named Fellowship 2010-2011
    • Imagine Science Films, Artist in Residence 2011
    • Yahoo! Campus Innovations Award
    • Yahoo! Boost Award Rackham Summer Research Grant, 2011
  • Funding: NASA
  • Publications:
    • Alexander, R. L., S. O'Modhrain, D. A. Roberts, J. A. Gilbert, and T. H. Zurbuchen (2014), The Bird's Ear View of Space Physics: Audification as a Tool for the Spectral Analysis of Time Series Data, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2014JA020025, doi:10.1002/2014JA020025.
    • Alexander, R. L., S. O'Modhrain, J. A. Gilbert, and T. H. Zurbuchen (2014), Auditory and Visual Evaluation of Fixed-Frequency Events in Time-Varying Signals, paper presented at 20th Int. Conf. Aud. Disp (ICAD 2014), New York.
    • E. Landi, R. L. Alexander, J. R. Gruesbeck, J. A. Gilbert, S. T. Lepri, W. B. Manchester and T. H. Zurbuchen, Carbon Ionization Stages as a Diagnostic of the Solar Wind (2012), The Astrophysical Journal, 744, 100.
    • Alexander, R. L., O'Modhrain, S., Gilbert, J.A. Zurbuchen, T.H.T, Simoni, M. (2012). Recognition of Audified Data in Untrained Listeners. International Conference on Auditory Display. Proc. 18th Int. Conf. Aud. Disp (ICAD 2012): 135-140.
    • Alexander, R. L., Gilbert, J., Landi, E., Simoni, M., Zurbuchen, T.H., Roberts, D., Audification as a Diagnostic Tool for Exploratory Heliospheric Data Analysis. (2011), Proc. 17th Int. Conf. Aud. Disp (ICAD 2011)
    • Alexander, R. L., Zurbuchen, T.H., Gilbert, J, Lepri, S., Raines, J., Sonification of ACE Level 2 Solar Wind Data. (2010), Proc. 16th Int. Conf. Aud. Disp (ICAD 2010), 39-40
    • Alexander, R. L., Umbaugh, J., Turley, P. A Demonstration of Algorithmic Music Composition in the Noteworks Software Platform. (2010), Proc. 16th Int. Conf. Aud. Disp (ICAD 2010)
Robert Alexander II