New BBC/OU series explores the science behind the world of sound

Tonight, a new two part OU/BBC series Sound Waves: The Symphony of Physics starts on BBC4 at 9.00pm in which Dr Helen Czerski takes us on a spectacular journey into the world of sound.

In episode one, Helen investigates the extraordinary science behind the sounds we’re familiar with and the sounds that we normally can’t hear. Episode two explores how information is carried by sound, how it’s driven the evolution of truly incredible biological systems and how sound waves are actively used to understand the world around us.

The OU’s Head of Engineering and Innovation and Academic consultant on the series, David Sharp, says, “Audiences will embark on a journey of sound, taking in some extreme acoustic environments, from one of the quietest places on our planet, to one of the most reverberant spaces.”


OpenLearn also has content in connection with the series subject areas; including a sea sounds experiment, free courses in hearing, creating musical sound and sound for music technology and advice from OU academics on taking study further. Visit

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1 Response to New BBC/OU series explores the science behind the world of sound

  1. Jon Keliehor says:

    A wonderful and comprehensive presentation, thank you Dr Helen Czerski. In 1983 I met sound theorist, Hugo Zuccarelli at my London studio where he presented his Holophonics theory. Stated roughly: “the human auditory system is a sound emitter, producing a reference sound that combines with incoming sound to form an interference pattern inside the ear”. The concept of Holophonics is briefly outlined on Wikipedia. Although his ideas are unproven there is something about this concept that is intriguing, a suggestion of the nervous system’s capacity to interact with sound emitters, to echo locate, perhaps in a way similar to Sonar and Sodar? I’d be interested to know if Dr Czerski might follow this through?

    Best Regards
    Jon Keliehor
    Luminous Music (Glasgow)

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