GoLP Virtual Reality Lab - Let’s dive into the plasma realm!

To present some of the most advanced scientific research in plasma physics and laser-plasma interaction using an innovative and immersive artistic experience for the audience – this is the idea of the Virtual Reality Lab, a project realized by Giannandrea Inchingolo, Ph.D. candidate at IPFN’s Group of Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP), under the supervision of Prof. Luis O. Silva and in collaboration with other GoLP members.

Using an innovative combination of images, videos, sounds, and experiences in virtual reality, the GoLP VR Lab transforms the scientific data of GoLP research into a fully interactive artistic experience for the audience. From the far astrophysical scenarios to the latest innovations in plasma accelerators, the project creates the possibility of diving into the plasma realm, discovering the physics that governs all these different plasma scenarios.

A plasma is a particular state in which matter is decomposed into its elementary charged particles, electrons and ions. This state is everywhere in our Universe: from all the stars to the latest experiments here on Earth, like the AWAKE project at CERN in Geneva. 

GoLP/IPFN is a leading group in plasma research with more than 20 years of experience in this field. However, the intrinsic complexity of the research sometimes makes it difficult to understand, especially for those without a specialized background. This was the inspiration for Giannandrea’s goal of transforming the team’s research into catchy artistic expressions, and to offer a sensory experience of the plasma realm to those approaching this world for the first time. 

A core part of GoLP VR Lab is Turbulence | Voice of Space, Giannandrea’s personal project in which he adapts his personal research in turbulent plasma with the latest media art techniques, in collaboration with Prof. Joseph Paradiso from MIT Media Lab in Boston, and the Virtual Beamline group of ELI Beamlines in Prague.

All the media produced are perfectly coupled with the GoLP VR Lab project: the sensations of being immersed in a non-familiar world are a perfect base for exploring the plasma, a realm often non-familiar and inaccessible to most. GoLP VR Lab takes these sensations, stimulated not only with sound but also visually and physically thanks to a complete and interactive virtual reality experience, and makes them a great tool for the exploration and the understanding of the physics behind them.

Since its launching in early 2019, GoLP VR Lab has been exhibited in several national and international events dedicated to outreach and science communication, such as the MIT MediaLab Beyond the Cradle 2019 and Ciência 2019, the Portuguese annual national meeting for Science and Technology, receiving extremely positive feedback from the audience, with more than 200 visitors.

For more information on Giannandrea’s project and some samples visit: