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Again this summer the students involved in research in the Physics Department all participated in research projects in musical acoustics. Two different groups worked in separate laboratories designed to investigate different phenomena. One group finished the work we started last summer on determining the importance of bell vibrations on the acoustic spectrum of the modern trumpet. The other group investigated the vibrational and acoustic properties of elephant bells.
This year Amy (class of 2004) and Erin (class of 2005) continued the work on determining the effects of bell vibrations on the sound that a trumpet makes. They designed a new experimental apparatus to be used in conjunction with that constructed last year, and then performed extensive analysis of the acoustic spectrum of trumpets with the bell free to vibrate and with it damped. Brad (class of 2004) assisted by designing an apparatus to measure the magnitude of the vibrations.
Amy and Erin also did extensive work on measuring the acoustic impedance of a simple mouthpiece and tube system that was very precisely made and generously donated to the project by Gary Radtke. These measurements are currently being used to validate our computer model of a trumpet.
This year we began a new area of research. Brad (class of 2004), Richard (class of 2005) and Alexandra (class of 2006) began experiments directed toward discovering the physics behind the unique sound of elephant bells. Elephant bells are ceremonial bells from India that have a very unusual sound and the physics of these bells is not well understood. Professor Robert Perrin and Professor Gerry Swallowe of the University of Loughborough in England are using the data that Brad, Richard, and Alexandra's experiments produced in order to model these very complicated bells.
Alexandra was the first Rollins student ever selected to participate in the summer research program as an incoming first-year student. While all students are eligible to participate in the summer research program after completing their first year, there is only one position available for incoming first-year students. Alexandra was chosen from among all of the incoming students who declared physics as their major and she did a fantastic job. Incoming students interested in applying for this selective program should contact Professor Moore directly.