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Listen to the sounds of our planet at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences in Cambridge





Visitors to Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences are getting a chance to listen in on the sounds of our planet.

The free family-friendly installation and activities, launched on Tuesday at the museum in Downing Place, run until November 4.

This half term, visitors to Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences will geta chance to listen in on the mesmerising and eerie sounds of our planet. The family-friendly installation and activities are free and will run from the 24th October to the4th November.
This half term, visitors to Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences will geta chance to listen in on the mesmerising and eerie sounds of our planet. The family-friendly installation and activities are free and will run from the 24th October to the4th November.

Conversations between whales in the oceans, the low throb of ship’s engines and bursts of vibrations excited by earthquakes are too low for humans to hear in their original frequencies.

But sound artist David Stalling and Cambridge seismologist Sergei Lebedev have converted these usually inaudible noises into soundscapes in their new ‘Earth Traces’ installation at the museum.

The immersive audio experience allows visitors to hear, as well as visualise, the vibrations caused by seismic waves travelling through the interior of the Earth and its oceans.

Running alongside the installation at the University of Cambridge museum, there are a range of complementary hands-on activities for families – including make-your-own mini earthquakes and slinky experiments.

David and Sergei used a technique called audification to speed up vibrations collected by seismometers positioned on land and on the seafloor of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Sergei said: “It’s fascinating to hear the vibrations bouncing silently within the Earth and in the ocean brought to life.”

David said that his collaboration with Lebedev was motivated by a simple but enigmatic question: what does an earthquake sound like?

“I don’t have a scientific background; I approach this from a composer’s perspective. But listening to the data has made the science much more accessible,” he explained.

“These sounds have given me a glimpse into processes that I did not even imagine existed.”

The pair will talk more about their experience of collaborating on the installation at an after-hours event at the Sedgwick Museum on Friday (October 27).

This half term, visitors to Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences will geta chance to listen in on the mesmerising and eerie sounds of our planet. The family-friendly installation and activities are free and will run from the 24th October to the4th November.
This half term, visitors to Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences will geta chance to listen in on the mesmerising and eerie sounds of our planet. The family-friendly installation and activities are free and will run from the 24th October to the4th November.

Liz Hide, director of the Sedgwick Museum, added: ““Here in the Sedgwick Museum, we are all about enabling more people to explore and understand our amazing planet.

“David’s sound installation is a new and really exciting way to do experience some of the cutting-edge science that goes on in Cambridge.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors of all ages to Earth Traces, and hope it will inspire them to learn more.”

Visit sedgwickmuseum.cam.ac.uk for more.



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