Skip to main content

Acoustics and Monstropolis

As we speak (well, I write and you read), Salt Lake City is buzzing with acoustical news. It's home to one of this year's Acoustical Society of America meetings.

The meeting covers topics from What Did Dinosaurs Hear? to a Workspace Speech Privacy Calculator. And where else can you hear legitimate scientific talks titled Is a Neolithic Burial Chamber Different from My Bathroom? and Life's a Pitch?

Science Daily had an interesting story, cleverly titled A Sound Way to Turn Heat into Electricity, about some research that will be presented at the meeting tomorrow. This research surrounds using sound to turn waste heat into electricity. The University of Utah physicists use hot, moving air to produce sound in a small resonator. The sound waves then squeeze a piezoelectric device, and shazam- you have electricity.

The Army is interested in this work because they could use the technology to make use of waste heat from radars and to create portable electrical energy generators that could power electronics on the battlefield. You can imagine how else it might be useful - Dr. Orest Symko, the lead researcher, thinks the technology could make efficient cooling systems for computers and generate electricity from the heat give off by nuclear power plant cooling towers.

Cool stuff! Sort of reminds me of Monstropolis, the city in Monsters Inc. powered by the screams of children...


Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?