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Trevor Cox: Public Engagement
Trevor has been involved in many different public engagement activities, working with primary and secondary schools and other groups to promote the importance of acoustics.
Trevor was a Senior Media Fellow, funded by the EPSRC. Last year, Trevor was a finalist for Famelab, a national competition to find the new face of science on television. He gained worldwide news coverage for stories such as “Does a duck quack echo?” and “The Worst Sound in the World” which resulted in interviews on television (e.g. Richard & Judy, MadLab) and radio (e.g. Today). He was resident scientist at BBC Radio Manchester (2006-10). He has presented numerous documentaries on BBC Radio (audio and more details).
In 2006 he presented two shows to 4500 kids at the Royal Albert Hall entitled ‘Beautiful Music Horrible Sounds’ for the Royal Institution/RAH. He has co-organised pre-concert talks on auditorium acoustics, and co-curated an exhibition on concert hall acoustics at the South Bank Centre. He has/is working on four EPSRC projects promoting physics to 9-19 year olds. These included filming high speed acoustic phenomena and will includes a program for Teachers TV on BadVibes as part of the How Science Works project
Trevor Cox presented the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Lecture to the British Association for the Advancement of Science Festival of Science in Leicester. For his lecture, he took the subject 'Engineering art - the science of acoustics'. Using visual and aural examples, he showed how concert hall acoustics design is influenced by a diverse range of disciplines: 19th century mathematical number theories, mobile phone telephony, fractals, psychology and crystallography. As it is his speciality, he focused on the issue of surface diffusers in concert halls, and showed how his research is influencing the design of rooms worldwide. These lectures are awarded to young scientists or engineers who have shown themselves to be exceptional communicators, and in recognition of their work in the public understanding of science.
In 1995 Trevor Cox co-present a series of pre-concert talks on “Concert Hall Acoustics: Art or Science?” as part of Science, Engineering and Technology week. We also carried out questionnaire surveys of the audience to get a lay-persons view of acoustics. The biggest project Trevor has been involved in was being a curator on an exhibition for the South Bank Centre in London. The exhibition was titled “Concert Hall Acoustics: Art and Science”. Bridget Shield of South Bank University and Trevor were awarded a grant for the design of an exhibition on concert hall acoustics. The project was funded through the Royal Society and British Association Millennium Awards Scheme, financed by the Millennium Commission. The aim of the scheme is to encourage people's understanding of science, engineering and technology. Bridget and Trevor worked closely with Catherine Sutton of the Royal Festival Hall education department. Concert hall acoustics is a great subject for promoting public understanding of science: the exhibition reached out to art lovers; most of whom are familiar with some of the effects of good and bad room acoustics, and the subject lent itself to eye catching exhibits with aural demonstrations. The exhibition was shown at the South Bank Centre in London, where it attracted concert goers as well as the many tourists and visitors who passed through the South Bank Centre. The exhibition was used in school visits to the Royal Festival Hall, to give children some understanding and insight into the behaviour of sound and the importance of acoustics in concert hall design. You can find more about this project by visiting the on-line exhibition. For this work, Trevor Cox was awarded a Millennium Fellowship.
He organised a session on acoustics for the BA Festival of Science in 2003 which provided the major media stories for the first two days of the festival. He has organised and participated in activities for National Science Week, Insight, the Gifted and Talented programme, SETPOINT activities and the University of Salford’s enrichment program.