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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D056721/1
Title: Sound Matters
Principal Investigator: Waters, Dr T
Other Investigators:
Elliott, Professor S Mace, Professor B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cheltenham Science Festival (duplicate?) Institute of Acoustics INTECH
Museum of Science and Industry MOSI SETPOINT
Department: Inst of Sound and Vibration Research
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Engineering Stage Award PreFEC
Starts: 01 August 2006 Ends: 31 July 2009 Value (£): 98,732
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Acoustics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
EP/D054729/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Sound pervades much of our daily lives and is one of our primary means of communication. Its ubiquity motivates a wide variety of research / from environmental noise pollution and its resulting annoyance and stress, to more positive aspects such as the design of buildings, which can improve quality of life, and medical diagnosis by ultrasound, which can help improve health. So, sound is an ideal theme for connecting people to engineering, because it can be connected to their every day experiences. Sound features in the national curriculum at key stages 1-4 and on science curricula at AS/A level, and so this allows us to reach out to school pupils. Indeed, this award is mostly focussed on 10-19 year olds. This age group is emphasised because: (i) it contains vital ages where disengagement from science and engineering occurs, and (ii) it is important to counter the dropping of science and maths for post 16-education, as these subjects must be studied if pupils are to progress to engineering careers.Sound, and especially noise, is an important issue for policy makers and features often in the media, for example bad neighbours are often cited as noisy neighbours because the noise gives something tangible to complain about; this again giving possibilities for awareness work. Society implicitly or explicitly makes trade offs between the noise annoyance generated by activities and an individual's freedom to undertake these activities. Consequently, meaningful research in many areas of acoustics requires a dialogue to be established between researchers and the general public.Acoustic engineering is concerned with the production, transmission, manipulation and reception of sound, from unwanted industrial noise to beautiful music. Acoustics embodies both the physical properties of sound waves, and the psychological and physiological reaction of humans. Given the importance of perception to acoustics, it is possible to engage the public by getting them to participate in the experimental process, for instance in mass web-experiments. Acoustics naturally cuts across traditional discipline boundaries, which opens up opportunity for public communication work. For example, the stage will link acoustic engineering to music and the arts, giving a way of engaging pupils by drawing on their interests outside engineering. This link across traditional discipline boundaries is also exploited to show that engineering can be fun and creative.The activities proposed are:1. A craft project based on making musical instruments out of vegetables2. A project where pupils work with artists to create works exploiting acoustic engineering.3. A show entitled Sound at the Extremes which will examine extreme frequency ranges (ultrasound and infrasound), extreme volume levels (very quiet and very loud), and extreme environments (deep underwater or planetary acoustics).4. A dialogue activity for 14-19 years old and their parents to enable researchers to understand their attitudes to soundscapes.5. Employing a journalist to raise the awareness of acoustics.6. Web experiments on soundscapes (and maybe also on sexy voices).
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk