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Discord: The Story of Noise [Hardcover]

Mike Goldsmith

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Book Description

Oct. 3 2012
Noise is a widely recognized problem and health concern in the modern world. Given the importance of managing noise levels and developing suitable soundscapes" in contexts such as industry, schools, or public spaces, this is an area of active research for acousticians. But noise, in the sense of dissonance, can also be used positively; composers have employed it from Baroque music to Rock feedback; medicine harnesses it to shatter kidney stones and treat cancer; and even the military usesit in (real and rumoured) weapons. Mike Goldsmith looks back at the long history of the battle between people and noise - a battle that has changed our lives and moulded our societies. He investigates how increasing noise levels relate to human progress, from the clatter of wheels on cobbles to the sound of heavy machinery; he explains how our scientific understanding of sound and hearing has developed; and he looks at noise in nature, including the remarkable ways in which some animals, suchas shrimps, use noise as a weapon or to catch prey. He concludes by turning to the future, discussing the noise sources which are likely to dominate it and the ways in which new science and new ideas may change the way our future will sound."

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"[a] spectacularly good book" --The New Scientist

"A treasure trove of curious facts and anecdotes....Discord is an extremely attractive and accessible, well-written and engaging book, an excellent starting place for readers who want to understand the physics and politics of noise." --American Scientist

"an enjoyable history" -- all Street Journal

About the Author

Dr Mike Goldsmith has a PhD in astrophysics from Keele University, awarded for research into variable supergiant stars and cosmic dust formation. From 1987 until 2007 he worked in the Acoustics Group at the UK's National Physical Laboratory and was Head of the group for many years. His work there included research into automatic speech recognition, human speech patterns, environmental noise, and novel microphones. He continues to work with NPL on a freelance basis and has recently lead a three-year project to develop a new type of environmental noise mapping system. He has published over 40 scientific papers and technical reports, and since 1999, he has written over 30 science books for readers from babies to adults. Two of his books have been short-listed for the Aventis prize (now the Royal Society prize) for science books.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the silent big bang to traffic noise March 31 2013
By Lilac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
" Discord" is a learned and enjoyable story of noise and a treasure trove of curious facts and anecdotes.
It contains a long history of uses and annoyances from the big bang to battles to traffic noise. You will find the remarkable ways in which some animals, such as shrimps, use noise as a weapon or to catch prey; how medicine uses noise to shatter kidney stones or how it was employed positively in some aspects of music.

One misses perhaps a stronger contrast to music as the great antagonist to noise and chaos? What is the nature of this difference?
Noise appears to be a timely subject as a new tome Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listeningpromises to deal with similar material. If this is too academic for you there is also Tassilo's Vienna Violin/ Fresh Classical Music Guide/ Times/ Places which deals with the subject of a history of harmonious and noisy sound from the Big Bang to classical music in the format of a narrative.

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