Sound Matters

Lead Research Organisation: University of Salford
Department Name: Unlisted

Abstract

Sound pervades much of our daily lives and is one of our primary means of communication. Its ubiquity motivates a wide variety of research / from environmental noise pollution and its resulting annoyance and stress, to more positive aspects such as the design of buildings, which can improve quality of life, and medical diagnosis by ultrasound, which can help improve health. So, sound is an ideal theme for connecting people to engineering, because it can be connected to their every day experiences. Sound features in the national curriculum at key stages 1-4 and on science curricula at AS/A level, and so this allows us to reach out to school pupils. Indeed, this award is mostly focussed on 10-19 year olds. This age group is emphasised because: (i) it contains vital ages where disengagement from science and engineering occurs, and (ii) it is important to counter the dropping of science and maths for post 16-education, as these subjects must be studied if pupils are to progress to engineering careers.Sound, and especially noise, is an important issue for policy makers and features often in the media, for example bad neighbours are often cited as noisy neighbours because the noise gives something tangible to complain about; this again giving possibilities for awareness work. Society implicitly or explicitly makes trade offs between the noise annoyance generated by activities and an individual's freedom to undertake these activities. Consequently, meaningful research in many areas of acoustics requires a dialogue to be established between researchers and the general public.Acoustic engineering is concerned with the production, transmission, manipulation and reception of sound, from unwanted industrial noise to beautiful music. Acoustics embodies both the physical properties of sound waves, and the psychological and physiological reaction of humans. Given the importance of perception to acoustics, it is possible to engage the public by getting them to participate in the experimental process, for instance in mass web-experiments. Acoustics naturally cuts across traditional discipline boundaries, which opens up opportunity for public communication work. For example, the stage will link acoustic engineering to music and the arts, giving a way of engaging pupils by drawing on their interests outside engineering. This link across traditional discipline boundaries is also exploited to show that engineering can be fun and creative.The activities proposed are:1. A craft project based on making musical instruments out of vegetables2. A project where pupils work with artists to create works exploiting acoustic engineering.3. A show entitled Sound at the Extremes which will examine extreme frequency ranges (ultrasound and infrasound), extreme volume levels (very quiet and very loud), and extreme environments (deep underwater or planetary acoustics).4. A dialogue activity for 14-19 years old and their parents to enable researchers to understand their attitudes to soundscapes.5. Employing a journalist to raise the awareness of acoustics.6. Web experiments on soundscapes (and maybe also on sexy voices).

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Cheltenham Festivals 
Organisation Cheltenham Festivals
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2006
 
Description INTECH 
Organisation Winchester Science Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Institute of Acoustics 
Organisation Institute of Acoustics (IOA)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Museum of Science and Industry MOSI 
Organisation Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Queen Mary's College 
Organisation Queen Mary University of London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Royal Albert Hall 
Organisation Royal Albert Hall
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Royal Horticultural Society 
Organisation Royal Horticultural Society
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Royal Institution of Great Britain 
Organisation The Royal Institution of Great Britain
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2006
 
Description SETPOINT Greater Manchester 
Organisation Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics Network
Department SETPOINT Greater Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Science Learning Centre North West 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Science Learning Centre North West
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Teachers TV 
Organisation Department for Education
Department Teachers TV
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006