Spin Excitations

PRiSM 8³ | Spin Excitations for chamber ensemble

Composer: Shruthi Rajasekar, RNCM

Scientist: Dr Lucy Clark, Materials Innovation Factory, The University of Liverpool

Dr Clark is now Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at The University of Birmingham.


As part of the PRiSM 8 Cubed project, I had the honour of working with scientist Dr. Lucy Clark. In addition to learning about Dr. Clark’s field and research, we visited the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, a world-leading centre for research at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, which gives unique insights into the ​properties of materials on the atomic scale. ​This is where Lucy conducts her experiments which use scattering. We toured the facility with her frequent collaborator Dr. Ross Stewart.

Shruthi Rajasekar and Dr Lucy Clark at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source.

I am very grateful to both scientists for their brilliance, generosity, and extreme patience. I began our collaboration thinking only of refrigerator souvenirs when I heard the word “magnet.” Having now encountered just the tip of their research, I’m full of wonder at the incredible forces at work in our world.

Programme Note

Spin Excitations is a musical modeling of magnetic moments at the quantum level. Researchers developing materials known as quantum spin liquids seek to maximise their short-range order by harnessing quantum fluctuations. Their systems must consequently balance regularity and chaos. When working with such novel materials and techniques, scientists must also give way to the humbling concept of emergence: the possibility of small and simple components coalescing into a synergetic, complex, and unexpected creation.

ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford.