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A Celebration of Architectural Acoustic Aberrations


Speaker: Professor Trevor Cox, Head of Acoustics Research, University of Salford

Acoustic consultants try to make sure rooms do not have problems such as focussed echoes from domes, excessive reverberation and flutter echoes from parallel walls. This talk will celebrate these acoustic ‘defects’ and other extraordinary architectural sounds.

The science behind some historical examples, such as the whispering gallery in St Paul’s in London, was solved around a century ago, but others, like the underneath of Echo Bridge in Massachusetts, which was debated in the scientific literature in the 1940s, have never had the physics fully resolved until recently. Acoustic phenomena play with our perception of sound: in the spherical radome on top of the disused Cold War spy station at Teufelsberg near Berlin, you can whisper into your own ears. 

Using prediction models, in this talk we explore what sound effects could be created if designers deliberately set out to maximise acoustic aberrations.

Tea and coffee will be available from 6 pm in the Lennard-Jones foyer. Talks start at 7 pm and are followed by Q&A.

This talk will be accompanied by a British Sign Language interpreter.

Whilst it isn’t necessary to register for this event, it will help with our rooming and refreshment arrangements if you do.

About the Speaker

Professor Cox carries out research, teaching and commercial activities in acoustic engineering, focusing on room acoustics, signal processing and perception. He is a former President of the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and was awarded the prestigious Tyndall Award by the IOA as well as their award for Promoting Acoustics to the Public.

He was an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and has presented many documentaries for BBC radio.  He has written feature articles for New Scientist, Sound on Sound and The Guardian. He is an author of two popular science books, Sonic Wonderland for which he won an ASA science writing award and Now You’re Talking. "A David Attenborough of the acoustic realm, whose knowledge is unimpeachable yet worn lightly, whose language is vivid yet without indulgence" (The Observer). He holds the Guinness World record for producing the Longest Echo in one of the Inchindown Oil Tanks.