In the Loop
Faculty News : Mar 31, 2019

Dr. Chobaz in Switzerland

In March, Dr. Raymond Chobaz was invited to actively participate at the Carnival of Basel ("Basler Fasnacht") in Switzerland by the City Council of Basel. The origin of this carnival celebration, which is the biggest and best known in Switzerland, goes back to the Middle Ages. The celebration began at 4:00 a.m. on a March 11 and lasted three full days. The event involves 10,000 field drummers, 15,000 piccolo players and 100 marching bands parading and marching in costumes, masks and huge pole-mounted lanterns which are replaced and newly created every single year. Unlike mardi gras, the festivities are also vocal and critical of local, federal or worldwide political events. In 2018, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared the Basler Fasnacht an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity recognizing the rich traditions and uniqueness of Basel’s Fasnacht.

Also in Switzerland, Chobaz met with Dr. Richard Ernst to fine-tune the spectroscopic findings for his composition, The Circle Opens Wide Forever, in March of this year. Ernst received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1991 for his contributions to the development of the methodology of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy which lead to the development of the MRI. Spectroscopy determines the chemical composition of substances and the physical properties of molecules, ions, and atoms. The sonification of the spectroscopic findings was derived by establishing a mathematical correlation between analytical and physical chemistry and acoustics, sound and color analysis, and associating a musical pitch and rhythmic value to a color. Chobaz worked on this project with Ernst at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich for the past two years.

In 2009, Chobaz initiated the building and development of a new residential area in Basel, Switzerland, in honor of Swiss artist Max Kaempf (1912-82). In March, Chobaz visited the site and discussed the final details for the inauguration of the new Max Kaempf Platz on June 20, 2019. He was invited by the local government to give the inaugural speech.