In outreach & engagement news, a team of Physics staff led by Oksana Trushkevych (including Gavin Bell, Rachel Edwards, Tim Cunningham and Sue Burrows) presented “Resonate: a string, a concert hall, a universe” for the on-campus Resonate festival, the culmination of the University's celebrations for Coventry City of Culture.
The word resonate was on everyone’s lips, but people did not really talk about resonance in the physics sense of the word (there are some pretty iffy technical definitions even in the most reputable online dictionaries!). So the team set out to correct this and prepared an interactive lecture-performance, drawing on their current research as well as their teaching on The Science of Music module for IATL. PhD students from the Ultrasound group helped to move equipment and instruments, such as theremin and laser harp, to the Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre, and Gentian Mouron-Adams (a Physics undergraduate) demonstrated the Rubens tube. We talked about bridges, earthquakes, musical instruments, concert halls, MRI, seeing resonance, seeing with resonance, using resonance to hear... Activities included “singing” with balloons, “feeling” a piece of original music by Gavin through balloons and a “decipher the message” challenge relying on the natural reverberation of our teaching labs. We celebrated Delia Derbyshire, the electronic music pioneer from Coventry, who created the original Dr Who theme. We also talked about stars singing (actual stars, not celebs, and why we can’t hear them) and the universe being a set of resonances (well, if you are a string theorist). The event was aimed at children 8+ and received very positive feedback from attendees, young and grown up, who all made a lot of noise during and after the show.