Can 3D-printing musical instruments produce better sound than traditional instruments?

Music is an art, but it is also a science involving vibrating reeds and strings, sound waves and resonances. The study of acoustics can help scientists produce beautiful music even with musical instruments fashioned with high-tech methods, such as 3D printing. Xiaoyu Niu, from the University of Chinese Academy Sciences, and other researchers studied the … Read more

Elizabeth I identified as author of Tacitus translation

A new article in the Review of English Studies argues that a manuscript translation of Tacitus’s Annales, completed in the late sixteenth century and preserved at Lambeth Palace Library, was done by Queen Elizabeth I. The article analyzes the translation’s paper stock, style, and crucially the handwriting preserved in the manuscript to positively identify Elizabeth I as … Read more

Molière most likely did write his own plays

Two French researchers from the CNRS and Ecole nationale des chartes disprove the theory according to which Corneille was Molière’s ghostwriter – a popular and century-old theory, defended by some academics and writers. According to their forthcoming study in Science Advances, Molière would most likely be the only author of his numerous masterpieces. Was Pierre Corneille … Read more

Fluid dynamics taught through dance

A collaboration at University of Michigan is taking a unique approach to fluid mechanics by teaching it through dance. Fluid mechanics professor Jesse Capecelatro and choreographer Veronica Stanich, both from the University of Michigan, teamed up to create Kármán Vortex Street, a dance improvisation guided by physics properties. “Social dances, such as tango, have a collection of … Read more

Music is universal

Nearly 200 years ago, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow asserted “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Today, scientists at Harvard have published the most comprehensive scientific study to determine if the American poet’s words were mere cliché, or cultural truism. The study was conceived by Samuel Mehr, a fellow of the Harvard Data Science Initiative and … Read more

Enjoyment of pop music classics linked to combination of uncertainty and surprise

Why is it that people find songs such as James Taylor’s “Country Roads,” UB40’s “Red, Red Wine,” or The Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” so irresistibly enjoyable? In a study reported in the journal Current Biology on November 7, researchers analyze 80,000 chords in 745 classic U.S. Billboard pop songs – including those three – and find that musical … Read more

The brain’s favorite type of music

People prefer songs with only a moderate amount of uncertainty and unpredictability, according to research recently published in JNeurosci. Scientists have long struggled to understand why activities of little apparent evolutionary value, like listening to music, bring so much pleasure. Previous studies have linked listening to and making predictions about music with activation in reward centers … Read more