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Everyday science

The sound man

24 Sep 2014

Acoustical physicist Trevor Cox is on a mission to experience, record and explain some of the world’s most unusual – and fascinating – sonic landscapes. In this podcast, he talks to Physics World about some of the sonic wonders he has encountered on this journey, from the world’s longest echo to a singing road

As an acoustical physicist at the University of Salford, Trevor Cox spends much of his time developing ways to minimize distortions and other unwanted effects in concert halls and recording studios. A few years ago, however, an “acoustic epiphany” in a Victorian sewer, of all places, opened his mind – and his ears – to the beauty and wonder of less-conventional soundscapes. Since then, Cox has been on “scientific odyssey of sound” that has included trips to the singing sands of the Mojave Desert, a Cold War listening post and a vast underground oil tank that holds the Guinness World Record for the longest echo.

In this podcast, you’ll hear Cox describing some of these “sonic wonderlands” to Physics World‘s reviews editor Margaret Harris, who visited him in Salford to learn more about the science of unusual sounds – and to experience a few of these sounds first-hand.

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