Physics of Music Course Expands Student Minds

Over the course of this term Dr French and Mr Robertson have run a collaborative course entitled 'Physics of Music'. Star Yu describes this unique opportunity:

"Physics and Music, it’s hard to imagine a link between them. However, this is not the case – With the guidance from Dr French and Mr Robertson, we are able to see the relationship between them in different ways, including with our lovely organ!
With the basic Physics about sound waves in mind, we tried to create our own musical instrument with physics equipment! After some calculations, hard work and help from Dr French, we managed to use different combinations of strings and weight, to make the exact sound of the notes in an octave!
We then took a short trip to the John Wood Chapel, to investigate the importance of the strings in a grand piano and a harpsichord. The different width, length, material and shape really matters! The theories of how these instruments work, presented by Mr Robertson, widened our knowledge both in Physics and Music.
Musical instruments are not the only things that can play music. In the Physics lab, Dr French showed us how daily things can thrill us with music too! Milk bottles, boom whackers, a metal pole and even a glass with water inside can play us some interesting music! Feel free to try this at home!
The results of the investigations were then applied later on a trip to our lovely chapel, to have a look in the awesome organ! The different lengths of the pipes, up to 16 feet long, and different mechanisms in the organ allow various rich sounds to be played. With a Happy Birthday piece played for one of the students by Mr Robertson, our knowledge is broadened both in terms of Physics and Music. These have been the most fascinating lessons I have ever had."

Star Yu, L6 Allen