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Sounds at the extremes

Sounds at the extreme is a science show aimed at 14-19 years olds. The shows are carried out by the science communication company Science Made Simple. Science Made Simple ltd. are an award winning science communication company based within Cardiff University. They specialise in the development of interactive science presentations for schools and public groups on a variety of topics, mainly based around the physical sciences, and hence their involvement in this activity. Science Made Simple currently present around 300 shows a year to over 35,000 people and work in partnership with the British Council in taking their unique brand of science shows to a number of countries such as Germany, Spain and Thailand. Science Made Simple also offer communication training courses for scientists and museum staff on how to develop successful presentations, and this is important because the show will be bequeathed to two science centres.

Sounds at the extremes was developed in collaboration with Science made simple and the Universities of Southampton and Salford. The 1 hour show covers aspects of acoustics dealt with in the key stage 4 syllabus as well as introducing some of the research carried out at the Universities of Salford and Southampton.  The show is very interactive and great fun with a whole series of interactive demos to demonstrate and explain acoustic phenomena and to encourage more of an interest in science.

The main focus of the show is the extremes of human reaction to sound, such as the highest and lowest frequencies of human perception, from infra sound to ultra sound, the loudest and quietest sound levels humans can detect, and extreme reaction to sounds such as the nicest and most unpleasant sounds. The most horrible sound in the world was a recent research project at Salford called Bad Vibes.

The show has been piloted at a number of schools and more pilots are planned for the summer in the north and south. After the pilots have been completed the show will be inherited by the Museum of Science and Industry in manchester and INTECH in Winchester.

Some examples of the demos include real physical demonstrations and videos such as;

  • Giant wooppee cushion to demonstrate vibration and how human vocal chords work.
  • Slinky to demonstrate transverse (water/light) and longitudinal waves (sound).
  • Resonance of a wine glass, smashing wine glass, change of frequency with level of water.
  • Metal bin to create infra sound
  • Sonic booms