You’re at a crowded cocktail party (or a bar or anywhere else crowded, for that matter) and you somehow hear someone talking to you. How does that happen? Your ears are taking in so much sound and somehow you are able to make sense out of that one voice. This is a central question within the neuroscience of sound perception. In this episode, we trace an outline for how we hear in this crowded cocktail party. Listen to University of Maryland Professor, Shihab Shamma, explain.
This is the eleventh (and final) piece in a series about the information found in sound. Contributors to this piece can be found here.
It’s sort of amazing how babies can figure out language without being told any explicit rules. In this episode, we learn about how babies are actually a lot like songbirds in the Australian Outback: they’re guided to babble in certain ways that slowly build toward the language in their environment. Strangely, there is no imitation taking place! Hear all about these new ideas from Cornell University research Michael Goldstein.
This is the tenth piece in a series about the information found in sound. Contributors to this piece can be found here.
It is easy to pick out human speech from background noise. But how can we do this given that all the parts of speech sound like all the other sounds? Listen to how we understand speech (our friends and accents) simply from our habits of modulating sounds.
This is the seventh piece in a series about the information found in sound. Contributors to this piece can be found here.
The New York Subway is an incredibly complex system that keeps New York running. Since it was such an enormous initial undertaking, why was it first constructed? What techniques were used to make it? How is it being built now along the new Second Avenue Line. Hear answers to these questions from engineers, historians, and Sandhogs.
This program is part of the STEM Story Project — distributed by PRX and made possible with funds from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It is a small departure from our current series on sound. Contributors to this piece can be found here.
For more on the Sandhogs, see this documentary (it really gets to the heart of who these guys are):
Here are some videos I shot during my tour of the 2nd Ave subway construction (the guy leading the tour was Michael Horodniceanu):