3aMU4. Musical acoustics demonstrations play a role in teaching underwater acoustics and sonar.

Session: Wednesday Morning, June 18

Author: Murray S. Korman
Location: Dept. of Phys., U. S. Naval Acad., Annapolis, MD 21402
Author: Samuel A. Elder
Location: Dept. of Phys., U. S. Naval Acad., Annapolis, MD 21402


Live demonstrations with apparatus will be used to present a variety of effects in physics that involve musical acoustics. Musical acoustics has been taught as part of the physics majors course, called Acoustics, for over 30 years now. (Seniors take this four-credit elective in the fall semester, which includes a laboratory.) Also, many classroom demonstrations involving musical acoustics have been done in the Underwater Acoustics and Sonar course. (This three-credit course is taken by Oceanography and General Science Majors, in separate semesters, in their senior year.) These demos help motivate certain topics and help keep the student interested. They are fun and contribute to a lively class participation. It is difficult for the student to forget about the detection process when the signals and background noise become impromptu music that they have participated in generating. Fourier analysis of the voice or musical instruments suggest a structure that can help motivate what is meant by a sonar ping or the ``orchestration'' of background noise. Student involvement in the modal analysis of a guitar surface is certainly more effective and intriguing than a study of a submarine hull. A short video of some of the projects will supplement this presentation.

ASA 133rd meeting - Penn State, June 1997