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Ballora Invited to Participate in National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference

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Mark Ballora
Mark Ballora, associate professor of music technology, has been invited to participate in the annual National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, CA, Nov. 9-12. This annual event aims to enable both scientists and artists from different disciplines to focus on new questions, upon which they can base entirely new research, and to encourage and reward outstanding communication between scientists, as well as between the scientific enterprise and the public. The theme of the 2016 conference is "Discovering the Deep Blue Sea: Research, Innovation, Social Engagement."
Ballora, who has worked on sonifying scientific data from a number of disciplines, has recently been working actively with Jenni Evans, Penn State professor of meteorology, creating sonifications of tropical storms, and has presented sonifications of forest populations and climatology at the 2013-15 Polar Day events at Penn State. He said the opportunity to collaborate with oceanographers seemed a natural extension of this work, and he is anxious to explore the domain of the deep sea and hopefully aid specialists in the area in creating sonic renditions of their data that are both informative and compelling. Prior to the conference, researchers were asked to choose from among several subgroups, each of which was presented with a seed idea challenge. Ballora’s seed challenge group will work with the topic of climate-related change. Top presentations will be awarded seed grants to fund continued work.