Nik Sawe

CCRMA Role: 
Doctoral Student
Years Attended: 
06/2012 - 10/2013
Preferred Email (public): 
sawe@stanford.edu
Current Employer: 
Stanford
About Me: 
Nik Sawe is a PhD candidate in Stanford's Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), using neuroimaging via fMRI to study human decision-making on environmental issues. This work brings together research techniques from behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, decision science, and energy/environmental policy. At CCRMA, Nik combines his love of composition with his research, turning fMRI brain signals into music. You can hear his method rendering someone's visual cortex activity playing a string quartet here: stanford.edu/~sawe/fmriorchestra/Visual Quartet Final Render.mp3.

Nik also composes electronic music through more conventional means, with a recent piece, "When the Frost Melts", being used as a soundtrack in a recent environmental video of an Antarctic icebreaker research vessel by fellow E-IPER PhD student Cassandra Brooks that went viral: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNZu1uxNvlo

Unifying environmental, music, and neuroimaging themes, this year Nik will show a silent film of Antarctic nature scenes to a participant while imaging their brain. Whole-brain data from the participant will be used to construct an entire orchestral accompaniment to the silent film using a more complex version of the method used above to create the Visual Cortex String Quartet above.