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  • Greek amphitheater in Epidaurus
  • kelp bed
  • Baume Brune
Your search has returned 395 articles:
  • News in Brief

    Pin-drop test pops Greek amphitheater’s acoustic claims

    BOSTON — Guidebook claims about the superior acoustics of the ancient Greek amphitheater of Epidaurus are a tad melodramatic. An actor’s voice can be heard in the back row, but whispers and other quiet noises cannot, acoustician Remy Wenmaekers reported June 28 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

    The acoustics of the 14,000-seat theater, which dates to the fourth century B...

    07/06/2017 - 15:45 Archaeology, Physics
  • News

    How to eavesdrop on kelp

    BOSTON — If kelp growing in an underwater forest makes a sound, such noises could be used to keep tabs on ocean health.

    Listening to how projected sound reverberates through kelp beds allows scientists to eavesdrop on environmental factors such as water temperature and photosynthetic activity, bioacoustician Jean-Pierre Hermand reported June 28 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of...

    07/06/2017 - 06:00 Plants, Ecology
  • News

    Sound-reflecting shelters inspired ancient rock artists

    Ancient rock artists were drawn to echo chambers. Members of early farming communities in Europe painted images in rock-shelters where sounds bounced off walls and into the surrounding countryside, researchers say.

    Rock-shelters lacking such sound effects were passed up, at least in the central Mediterranean, report archaeologist Margarita Díaz-Andreu of the University of Barcelona and...

    06/26/2017 - 08:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Mystery Solved

    Why you can hear and see meteors at the same time

    For centuries, skywatchers have reported seeing and simultaneously hearing meteors whizzing overhead, which doesn’t make sense given that light travels roughly 800,000 times as fast as sound. Now scientists say they have a potential explanation for the paradox.

    The sound waves aren’t coming from the meteor itself, atmospheric scientists Michael Kelley of Cornell University and Colin...

    05/30/2017 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question mental health research

    New normal

    People who stay mentally healthy throughout life are exceptions to the rule, a small study suggests. Only 17 percent of study participants experienced no bouts of anxiety, depression or other mental ailments from late childhood to middle age, Bruce Bower reported in “Lasting mental health may be unusual” (SN: 3/4/17, p. 7).

    Reader Lou Floyd found the article disturbing and...

    04/05/2017 - 10:39 Mental Health, Animals, Physics
  • The Science Life

    Movie viewers’ exhaled chemicals tell if scene is funny, scary

    Spoiler alert: Scientists can gauge a film’s emotional tenor from the gasps of its audience. Sure, the audible sounds are a cue, but so are the chemicals exhaled with each sigh and scream. These gases could point the way to a subtle form of human communication.

    “There’s an invisible concerto going on,” says Jonathan Williams, an atmospheric chemist at the Max Planck Institute for...

    06/14/2016 - 09:00 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News

    Pygmy blue whales deepen their moans

    SALT LAKE CITY — In the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka, pygmy blue whales are changing their tune — and they might be doing it on purpose.

    From 2002 to 2012, the frequency of one part of the whales’ calls steadily fell, marine bioacoustician Jennifer Miksis-Olds reported May 25 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. But unexpectedly, another part of the whales’ call...

    06/03/2016 - 09:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    Lip-readers ‘hear’ silent words

    NEW YORK — Lip-readers’ minds seem to “hear” the words their eyes see being formed. And the better a person is at lipreading, the more neural activity there is in the brain’s auditory cortex, scientists reported April 4 at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. Earlier studies have found that auditory brain areas are active during lipreading. But most of those studies...

    04/06/2016 - 10:57 Neuroscience
  • The Science Life

    Uncovering the science of sand dune ‘booms’

    It starts as a hum, barely audible above the howl of the winds shimmying between sand dunes. Then it builds. Within seconds, the sound resembles a World War II–era prop plane flying low overhead. But there’s nothing there. “It’s very mystical and eerie,” says Nathalie Vriend, a mechanical engineer and geophysicist at the University of Cambridge.

    This resounding roar, called a boom, has...

    12/17/2015 - 16:00 Physics, Earth
  • Science Ticker

    Ancient hominid ears were tuned to high frequencies

    South African hominids that lived between around 2.5 million and 1.5 million years ago had an ear for high-frequency consonant sounds, anthropologist Rolf Quam of Binghamton University in New York and colleagues report September 25 in Science Advances.

    Using CT scans and digital technology, Quam’s team reconstructed the ear anatomies of two Australopithecus africanus skulls and one...

    09/25/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution