logo

hearing

  • placeholder

    The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times

    A lithograph of the massive 1883 eruption of KrakatoaThe eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena, 1888; Parker & Coward; via Wikipedia On 27 August 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since. It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits […]

  • placeholder

    The Unusual Language That Linguists Thought Couldn’t Exist

    In most languages, sounds can be re-arranged into any number of combinations. Not so in Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language.Brian Goodman via Shutterstock Languages, like human bodies, come in a variety of shapes—but only to a point. Just as people don’t sprout multiple heads, languages tend to veer away from certain forms that might spring from […]

  • placeholder

    Hearing Hadrons, and Doing Research by Ear

    Animation of data from collisions at the LHCCERN Several years ago, particle physicist Lily Asquith was hanging out with a few musician pals in London after a band rehearsal, doing impromptu impersonations of what she thought the various elementary particles might sound like, and encouraging the drummer to recreate them electronically. Another band member asked […]

  • Aldrin by Armstrong Apollo 11

    44 Years of Debating the First Words Ever Spoken on the Moon

    Perhaps no recorded phrase has been so heavily analyzed, so dredged for missing information, as Neil Armstrong’s words when he took his first step on the Moon. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 40-odd years, they were (drumroll), “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Or at […]

  • George_Jones_PNG

    Why Pianos, and Monkeys, Can Never Really Play the Blues

    One of the last things you’d expect to see at a physics conference is a physicist on stage, in a dapper hat, pounding out a few riffs of the blues on a keyboard. But that’s exactly what University of Illinois professor J. Murray Gibson did at the recent March meeting of the American Physical Society […]