S. A. Elder M. S. Korman
Phys. Dept., U. S. Naval Acad., Annapolis, MD 21402
For about 25 years the Physics Department has offered an acoustics course as a senior elective for physics and electrical engineering majors, based on the text by Kinsler, Frey, Coppens, and Sanders. A 2-h laboratory is provided each week. The aim of the lab is to illustrate the theory by teaching basic experimental measurement techniques. The specialties include a modal analysis system (B&K) to study, for example, the vibration of guitars, Pyrex flasks, and student-made ``musical'' triangular steel plates. Students study the directivity of speaker arrays, musical instruments, and psychoacoustic effects in a 200-Hz--20-kHz anechoic chamber. IBM PC and Mac II work stations provide instruction in hardware interfacing, signal processing, spreadsheets (for data analysis), as well as specialized techniques of FFTs and digital filtering. Work stations have a midi-interface for sound and music synthesis. Ultrasonics and underwater acoustics experiments often involve electroacoustics. Projects include measuring the effects of interference, diffraction, reverberation, and classification of material properties. In addition, each student participates in a major project, usually in a small group. Recently the class performed an acoustical evaluation of the new Bob Hope Theater of the Performing Arts on the USNA campus.