Raising public awareness of acoustic principles using voice and speech production

David M. Howard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public engagement with science, technology, and engineering is seen as being increasingly important as the numbers of school leavers choosing to read for degrees in these areas is typically dropping. Engagement with pupils during their school years is seen as being a key element in influencing their choices of career for which seeds are sown from the primary years. Acoustics is an excellent vehicle for public engagement since the demonstrations can be appreciated directly by the sense of hearing and the underlying principles also apply in many branches of physics and engineering. This paper describes a number of demonstrations that have been employed during science engagement events for schools and the general public in the context of the principles of acoustics and human speech production. The apparatus used, which in some cases has been purpose-built, is described along with the activities themselves. In addition, a way to quantify the success of the process is proposed that involves a single button press on entry to and exit from an event. (C) 2012 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3676738]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2405-2412
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • hearing
  • speech
  • social sciences
  • student experiments

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