The Dynamics of Storage Rings


Storage rings are used by nuclear physicists to maintain a stream of sub-atomic particles in a more or less orderly state, before flinging them violently against each other in order to observe the splattered remains of the collision, in the process providing new insights into the nature of matter and energy. A pair of iterated equations called the standard map (or Chirikov map) has been found to be a useful generalization and simplification of the dynamics of the particles in the ring, and makes an interesting study of chaotic dynamics in its own right. The standard map is the same nonlinear system which drives my other constructions, Clang and Slot.

In The Dynamics of Storage Rings, the computer iterates the equations of the standard map over and over, each iteration adding a point in the so-called "phase space" depicted on the screen. Simultaneously, each point is mapped into an "instrument space" consisting primarily of percussion sounds. Periodically the software stops the current iteration sequence and starts a new one, allowing the accumulation of points from the old sequence to fade from view. These short videos are excerpts from two much longer runs.






The Dynamics of Storage Rings runs on Mac OS-10.7 or later, and is made available here for personal and educational use. The program runs in fullscreen mode, so use the <Cmd>Q key combination to exit the program. Please contact me directly for any public performance or display.

Download The Dynamics of Storage Rings



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