Compression Waves & Sound
Listening for Black Holes & Neutron Stars
November 19, 2014
Scientists around the world are trying to catch some waves, some gravitational waves. Find out what these warps in space-time are, the ways to find them and how we could use them to "listen" to the movements of black holes and neutron stars.
October Physics News Roundup
October 29, 2014
China's rocket to the moon, particle discoveries at the LHC, the physics behind the feel of a city, and several more stories roundup this month in physics news.
Virtually Invisible Cochlear Implants
February 26, 2014
Many suffering from hearing loss may soon have access to cochlear implants that are virtually invisible and wirelessly chargeable. Here's how they'll work.
Listening to the Stars
February 05, 2014
Astronomy data can be converted into beautiful images of galaxies, stars, and distant planets. But researchers can also turn that data into sound - allowing you to experience stars in a whole new way.
Rescue Radar from Dolphin Clicks
November 06, 2013
Can dolphin sonar out-perform man-made sonar? Physicist Tim Leighton has a hunch that it can, and his pursuit of this question helped him create a new take on traditional radar technology.
Clapping Wet Hands
September 11, 2013
Clapping wet hands together can make a fun and messy game, but it's also a physics experiment. Physicist Sunny Jung discusses how does the thin film of fluid transform into droplets, and what can physicists do with that information.
August 14, 2013
We send radio waves into the universe, but some planets also send radio waves toward Earth. Grab your speakers and listen to these creepy cosmic sounds.
July 10, 2013
Did human activity cause Oklahoma's largest earthquake on record? Scientists say it's possible.
Read more on this podcast's blog post
The Physics of Vinyl
June 12, 2013
You can make a record out of vinyl, ice, or even wood. So how do record players convert tiny grooves in a material into music and sound?
Listening to the Earth
May 08, 2013
Listening to various waves in the Earth can reveal the source and power of truck bombs, nuclear explosions, and natural disasters.
Read more on this podcast's blog post
You Tube Physics Stars
March 13, 2013
Calla goes behind the scenes of You Tube's most popular physics videos including Minute Physics and Veritasium.
Ig Nobel Prizes
September 26, 2012
The physics of ponytails, the fluid dynamics of coffee cups and zombie fish are just some of the highlights from this year's annual Ig Nobel Prizes, celebrating science that makes you laugh, then makes you think.
July 25, 2012
Even though Hollywood films aren't known for being completely scientifically accurate all of the time, the writers of some of the biggest films and TV shows have been relying on their science advisors to make the science in science fiction all the more believable.
Who is Enrico Fermi?
July 18, 2012
Physicist Enrico Fermi has his name attached to a number of monumental physics items, like Fermilab, fermions and fermium. Who was Fermi, what did he do to earn so much notoriety and the title of "universal physicist"? We'll try to find out in today's podcast.
How the Hippies Saved Physics
July 04, 2012
Dr. David Kaiser, author of the book "How the Hippies Saved Physics"
talks about how the culture of the 1970's influenced physics, and
brought the philosophical exploration of quantum mechanics back into
Music and Fractals
May 23, 2012
Using visual imagery to describe sound can help us learn about music.
February 08, 2012
In the 1880s some amazing recordings were made at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Labs. A hundred years later, particle physicists decoded them. Listen to history in the remaking.
January 04, 2012
Join Mike Lucibella as he explains the ups and downs of sound and how gasses can change everything.
September 07, 2011
The Physics Central team recently got some first-hand experience with the physics of earthquakes.
Alligator Faraday Waves
June 22, 2011
Alligators flirt with physics
The Sound of Stars
March 09, 2011
Mike Lucibella interviews William Chaplin, a researcher at the University of Birmingham who uses asteroseismology, the music of the stars, to study stars' resonance.
USA Celebrates Science
November 03, 2010
Mike Lucibella takes us on a journey through the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall.
Waves & Bubbles
June 18, 2007
Hear about ocean waves, bubbles, sound, and global warming.
Compression Waves & Sound
Robots and snakes
June 27, 2012
Mechanical engineers mimic snakes to build better robots.
February 27, 2012
Landscape ecologists are studying what sounds can tell them about a specific ecosystem. Researchers have found that certain sounds or lack thereof can be an important indicator of environmental changes. By recording the sounds in a particular area, scientists can track the typical patterns and note any changes and investigate the causes.
Earthquake! What's Your Risk?
February 20, 2012
Geologists, computer scientists and engineers designed a website to incorporate data from around the world in a real-time assessment that shows each individual’s risk of experiencing an earthquake and the subsequent damage. The assessment helps people decide if the property insurance they have for earthquake coverage is adequate.
Electric Fish Orchestra
November 14, 2011
Biological Engineers, Visual Artists and Composers Make Beautiful Music Using a Choir of Fish
Treating Tremors with Ultrasound
October 24, 2011
Neurosurgeons are using a new, non-invasive procedure using ultrasound to help stop certain types of tremors that impede their patients everyday lives.
August 01, 2011
Engineers and doctors help medical students train their ears to catch abnormal heartbeats with a special stethoscope.
July 04, 2011
Software engineers re-invent classic music performances using artificial intelligence.
Engineering For Earthquakes
May 16, 2011
Structural engineers designed a building foundation that can help to minimize damage when an earthquake strikes.
May 02, 2011
Environmental scientists are evaluating the Gulf Stream as a source of renewable energy. Scientists are using sound to measure the speed and power of the current at different times. The hope is that one day, different types of energy-generating equipment could be stationed to turn the power of the ocean into electricity.
Surviving A Tsunami
January 31, 2011
Civil engineers are using a wave machine to simulate large waves in order to study the impact of tsunamis and learn ways to defend against their destruction.
Helping to Hear: Cochlear Implants
November 29, 2010
Hearing scientists found that for a child who is hearing impaired, placing a cochlear implant in each ear is more beneficial than one implant alone. The researchers found that having both implants improved a child's ability to determine the direction of a sound's source.
Rev Up Your Electric Engines!
November 22, 2010
Bioscientists and electrical engineers are making quiet, ecofriendly electric and hybrid cars more pedestrian-friendly by adding an artificial sound. These vehicles can be a hazard to pedestrians, bikers and the visually or hearing impaired. Researchers added a computer inside the engine and several speakers around the car to emit a fake engine noise, warning passersby through the compression waves from the speaker. As their efforts continue, scientists hope to make a variety of engine sounds available to drivers, from a Corvette to a Harley.
August 01, 2007
Scientists gives us a sneak peek into the world of wave pools, and explain how these huge pools make constant waves. Waves are made by a huge compressor that feeds four gigantic air blowers. Then a computer controls chambers that generate the waves. When the chamber lids are closed, air from the blowers pushes the water out and makes a wave. When the valve is open, the balance tank fills with water, getting ready to make the next wave. It works just like a toddler pushing a cup upside-down onto water in a bathtub.
Rip Current Secrets Revealed
August 01, 2006
Rip currents flow in very erratic patterns, not in steady courses as previously believed -- which may help explain why they can be so dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Oceanographers have discovered the behavior by tracking the motion of colored dye added to a wave pool generating rip currents.
Sonic Golf Club
July 01, 2005
A new golf club uses motion-detection sensors and wireless technology to coach players through the use of sound. A golfer can "hear" the speed of the swing in wireless headphones, and adjust swings accordingly. Professional golfers generate the loudest, highest-pitch sounds. Most golfers say they see improvements within 15 minutes.
New Combat Helmet
July 01, 2005
Wearing a helmet can make it hard to figure which direction sounds -- such as gunfire -- is coming from. Soldiers in Iraq are using a new helmet, called the Advanced Combat Helmet, which is padded internally to prevent sound from reverberating and masking its direction of origin.