Sounds From Other Planets

Have you ever wondered what your voice might sound like on another planet? A team of scientists working at the University of Southampton have used mathematical and physical tools taking into account atmospheres, pressure and fluid dynamics to produce the natural sounds of other worlds, including thunder, human voices, whirlwinds, probe splashdowns and waterfalls. The […]

Harmony in motion

Sound, as you probably know, is the result of pressure waves travelling through the air. As the pressure wave enters your ear, it causes the tympanic membrane to vibrate. This, simultaneously, causes your inner ear bones to dance around like a teenager at a rock concert. In turn, this moshing vibrates tiny hairs in your […]

Podcast: Radio Package 2: Sounds of the Science Museum

In the second of the I, Science radio package series, I take a look at the “Sounds of the Science Museum”. Museums are traditionally sight- and touch-based, but they use a lot of sound too – interactives, videos, audio content on gallery, and even just the constant sound of busy visitors add to the overall […]

Grunt, Set and Match

Today we will see Maria Sharapova finally step back onto centre court for the Wimbledon Ladies Final. Undeniably a pleasure to watch, the annoyingly loud ‘grunts’ that Sharapova is now famous for are much less pleasing on the ears. Reaching levels of up to 100db, Sharapova’s exhalations can be distracting for both viewer and her […]

Baby boomers

Anyone who has ever taken a long plane journey knows just how annoying babies can be. In the cramped, stuffy environment of a plane cabin sometimes the only relief you can find is in sleep. You may, miraculously, find yourself drifting off, only to be rudely brought back to Earth by the sound of a baby screaming its lungs […]

Vampire Bats

“Again I woke in the night, and found Lucy sitting up in bed, still asleep, pointing to the window…between me and the moonlight flitted a great bat, coming and going in great, whirling circles.” (Dracula, p104). Vampire bats have been flitting around human imaginations for a while. Unused to thinking of ourselves as a food […]

Antarctic reveals lightning space whistles

Take yourself into the middle of nowhere and hold a radio receiver to the sky.  Above the snapcracklepop of static, you might just be lucky enough to catch a whistler. Sounding like weaponry from an early sci-fi film, whistlers are the remnants of lightning strikes that have travelled tens of thousands of miles through space […]

Watching porn is good for you – if you’re a cricket

Any crickets reading this – you’re in luck. Scientists have shown that hearing other crickets making sexual noises while growing up have a stronger immune system than those who were reared in silence. It seems a strange, almost coincidental, correlation – between an internal, biochemical process (immunity) and an external, social cue (sexual signalling). However, […]

Top 5 Unseen Weapons

5. The ultrasound gun The sonic devastator Imagine the sound of fingernails scraping down a blackboard, then amplify it to 130 decibels (which is equivalent to a jet plane taking off) and you begin to understand how the Sonic Devastator got its name. Designed for riot control, the hand-held gun’s design restricts its beam to […]

Singing Against the Tide

I’m sure I am not the only one who is missing Camila’s Monday blog posts on the exploits of the animals at Buin Zoo. So for me, and any nostalgic readers out there, here is a little animal anecdote to fill the void. This is the story of the loneliest whale in the world. This […]