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Developing the hertz art-science project to allow inaudible sounds of the Earth and Cosmos to be experienced

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Abstract and Figures

Abstract. The Earth and atmosphere are in constant motion. Volcanoes, Glaciers, Earthquakes, Thunderstorms and even the Aurora produce powerful low frequency sounds known as Infrasound. Infrasound is constantly passing through our atmosphere but contains frequencies below the range of human hearing, effectively an inaudible symphony. Inspired by wanting to allow physical access to this natural phenomenon, a collaboration between the worlds of contemporary art and meteorology has been developed. This led to a project called hertz, named after the nineteenth century physicist Henirich Hertz whose surname provides the scientific unit (Hz) for frequency. hertz explores the manifestation of the hidden resonances of our own planet and the secret harmonies of our stars. This was principally achieved using furniture adapted to vibrate with infrasonic waves from pre-recorded sources and in real time. The project's motivations are in exploring new methods to experience and re-engage with parts of our planet through this phenomenon. hertz has had a UK national tour in which several thousand people interacted with the piece. This paper describes the concepts, creative ideas, technology and science behind the project. It addresses its development, including the steps to make it accessible for all, and examines its impact on those who interacted with the work.
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Developing the hertz art-science project to allow inaudible sounds of
the Earth and Cosmos to be experienced
Graeme J. Marlton1, Juliet Robson2
1Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK, RG6 6BB
2Wyfold Lane Studio, Wyfold Lane, Peppard, RG9 5LR
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Correspondence to: Graeme.marlton@reading.ac.uk
Abstract. The Earth and atmosphere are in constant motion. Volcanoes, Glaciers, Earthquakes, Thunderstorms and even the
Aurora produce powerful low frequency sounds known as Infrasound. Infrasound is constantly passing through our atmosphere
but contains frequencies below the range of human hearing, effectively an inaudible symphony. Inspired by wanting to allow
physical access to this natural phenomenon, a collaboration between the worlds of contemporary art and meteorology has been
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developed. This led to a project called hertz, named after the nineteenth century physicist Henirich Hertz whose surname
provides the scientific unit (Hz) for frequency. hertz explores the manifestation of the hidden resonances of our own planet
and the secret harmonies of our stars. This was principally achieved using furniture adapted to vibrate with infrasonic waves
from pre-recorded sources and in real time. The project’s motivations are in exploring new methods to experience and re-
engage with parts of our planet through this phenomenon. hertz has had a UK national tour in which several thousand people
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interacted with the piece. This paper describes the concepts, creative ideas, technology and science behind the project. It
addresses its development, including the steps to make it accessible for all, and examines its impact on those who interacted
with the work.
1 Introduction
The Earth and atmosphere are constantly shifting due to a range of natural processes such as seismic motion, volcanic
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explosions and glacial slippage. Atmospheric phenomena such as hurricanes, thunderstorms and tornadoes also contribute. At
first-hand, these events can be both majestic and alarming. Increasingly, these are rarely experienced directly, as more of the
Earth’s population lives in towns and cities, insulated from these and also the less extreme visceral expressions of nature. The
acoustic signals of natural terrestrial and atmospheric changes are more and more obscured by the background anthropogenic
noise of airports, trains and motorways. Technology further isolates the modern human from the natural environment in which
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we evolved increasingly being used as a filter through which we view the natural world. Seeking to re-establish links with the
natural environment, one of us, the artist Juliet Robson, aimed to create an interactive art work that would re-establish this
diminishing link, one that was tangible in a very real sense and that allowed a way in to the important but sometimes
inaccessible research done by scientists. This would specifically reinforce the view that “Artists are no longer concerned with
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creating artwork that reflects or interprets reality; rather, they want to be active agents in creating it, ... That means that artists
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need to have an even deeper understanding of the mechanics behind science and technology.’’ (Williams, 2017). To undertake
this, it was apparent that such a project would need to call on science technology engineering and maths (STEM) expertise to
create an authentic as possible representation of natural hidden resonances through providing an immersive experience. Robson
approached two scientists and a mathematician to explore the possibilities of making hidden resonances of the stars and natural
phenomena of our planet heard and felt.
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One of those was, co-author, Graeme Marlton, a meteorologist interested in the educational possibilities of such a project who
was working on the Atmospheric Research Infrastructure in Europe 2 (ARISE 2) project (Blanc et al. 2018). The ARISE 2
project encompassed examining a multitude of different measurement techniques to measure the dynamical properties of the
atmosphere. One such technology that was utilised in this project was infrasound measurements. Infrasound contains sound
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frequencies which fall below the audible range of human hearing, essentially sound waves below 20 Hz. It is produced
naturally, or artificially by large explosions such as that of a nuclear detonation or by mining activity, as well as trains and
planes. Natural infrasound is produced by volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, ocean swell, thunderstorms, hurricanes and even
the aurora borealis (Wilson 1969) see figure 1. The importance of infrasound to the ARISE project was to learn about the state
of the atmosphere by learning how infrasonic waves passed through it from a known infrasound source, such as a volcano
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(Smets et al 2019).
Ultimately, raw infrasound data contains inaudible recordings of our planet and its atmosphere. To provide new access to this
information, the raw infrasound data could be processed to provide physical changes which could be sensed, using
commercially available transducers. Transducers are devices which shake when a low frequency sound is played through them.
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They are fitted in 4D cinemas and video gaming chairs to provide a vibrating sensation to the spectator when an explosion or
aircraft passes over on screen to make the experience more immersive. The aim here was to enable people to feel their bodies
resonating to the inaudible symphony of the planet. Figure 2 shows the initial concept work drawn up for the project. This
would become one of the two working strands for Robson’s immersive new project.
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The other strand is not discussed at length here, but it worked by taking astronomical measurements of the stars and from the
spectral signature derive a sound wave. Sound waves move through sun stars gaseous interior because of temperature changes
and the star in turn fluctuates in brightness, satellites like Kepler and transiting exoplanet survey satellite can observe these
vibrations. This data was obtained from NASA’s Kepler project (Chaplin et al 2010) and then sonified and played through
Chladni plates built for the project. Chladni plates consist of a flat sheet of metal, usually circular or square, mounted on a
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central stalk to a sturdy base. When the plate oscillates at a particular mode of vibration, the nodes and antinodes form complex
but symmetrical patterns over its surface. The positions of these nodes and antinodes can be seen by sprinkling sand upon the
plates, the sand will vibrate away from the antinodes and gather at the nodes (Stöckmann 2007). As the frequencies of different
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stars were played through the plates, the sand sprinkled on the plate formed geometric patterns related to that particular stars
frequency.
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As the connection between the two strands was that of resonance, and resonance is closely associated with frequency, the
project was named hertz, after the standard unit of frequency. Drawing on the premise that everything vibrates, from the
smallest atom to the furthest star, their frequencies surround us and yet leave no imprint, hertz would enable people to feel
their bodies resonating to the inaudible symphony of our own planet and experience the stars singing and see their sound made
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visible. hertz’s ultimate goal would aim to reconnect us to our planet and place in the cosmos. Its ancillary aims would also
be to educate about the science behind the project
In this paper we predominantly focus on the infrasound strand of the hertz project. In section 2 we will describe the science
behind how the installation works and the initial feedback received on the prototype. In section 3 we describe how the feedback
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modelled the version prepared for the hertz tour around the UK. In section 4 we review the feedback from the public from the
tour. In section 5 we discuss the collaboration from both the artist and the scientist. The project findings are summarised in the
conclusions in section 6.
2 hertz from concept to prototype
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In order to create an immersive experience where modified infrasound is played through a transducer, infrasound recordings
which had captured the acoustics of the natural world were needed. In this section we describe how infrasound is measured
and how the infrasonic recordings used in the hertz project were acquired. We will then describe the prototype setup and how
the infrasound recordings were processed to create an immersive experience.
2.1 Infrasound recordings
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Infrasound cannot be detected using normal audio recording equipment. Instead, a microbarometer, a very sensitive pressure
sensor, can be used to detect the subtle pressure variations generated by infrasound. Globally, networks of microbarometers
are maintained by meteorological and seismological organisations. The largest network is maintained by the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization CTBTO, who have 60 infrasound stations across the globe (Christie and Campus 2010).
The main purpose of this microbarometer network is for detection of a nuclear detonation. However, as these stations monitor
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constantly, they mainly detect infrasound generated by the atmosphere and other man-made disturbances. A US based
company, InfilTech, manufactures a small portable, low-cost infrasound detector, the INFRA20, for $350 which can be logged
via a USB port of a standard PC. An INFRA20 was used to gather infrasound recordings for the project. It was initially
deployed in the suburbs of Reading during July 2017 where it measured infrasound from several thunderstorms that had formed
over northern France and had moved northwards over the English Channel and into southern England on the 18th July 2017.
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Figure 3 shows a spectrogram - an image that displays the detected infrasonic frequencies - for these events. The spectrogram
has a horizontal time axis, and frequency on the vertical axis, using colour to indicate the amplitude of the signal. From the
recordings made that night, as each thunderstorm approached infrasound frequencies in the 0.1Hz to 1 Hz range were
generated. The most intense frequencies were detected from the thunderstorms at 3 LT. From 7LT to 9LT there are different
low amplitude infrasonic waves detected in the 0.5 to 1 Hz range, likely to be associated with the morning rush hour. To
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contextualise this, the infrasonic waves observed here oscillate once over a period of 10 seconds whereas the sound from a
subwoofer will oscillate over a period of a hundredth of a second.
The INFRA20 was also used to record the infrasonic signal from Aurora Borealis at Pallas, Northern Finland in September
2017. The infrasound there had a distinct signature at the 1 Hz band as shown in figure 4 and in agreement with (Wilson 1969).
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The infrasonic signals produced by the Reading thunderstorms and the infrasonic signal from the aurora is 4 times smaller.
This shows that different phenomena produce have different infrasound signatures. In addition to the recordings made directly
with the INFRA20, infrasound data clips were also provided by ARISE project members. These included infrasonic recordings
of Mount Etna, and an F16 jet aircraft accelerating to speeds greater than that of sound.
2.2 Hertz prototype test rig
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Figure 1 showed a concept picture for the infrasound setup. For prototyping, a large subwoofer loudspeaker (250 Watt) and an
ADX maximus transducer were used. The transducer had a clamp allowing it to be attached to a chair or wheelchair which
was the choice for the prototype. Robson had a spare metal wheelchair made of metal that were good at transferring vibrations.
There were also a variety of possible places where the transducer could be attached. In addition, it was easy to move to different
areas of the studio in order to experience and experiment with different spatial configurations. Both the transducer and
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subwoofer were connected to the soundcard of a computer meaning the same processed infrasound signal could be played
through both simultaneously. The reasons for adding a subwoofer that could play low frequency sound was added to increase
the immersive experience, so that audiences could be attracted to the installation from a distance. This also stimulated another
sense, hearing, by providing loud deep sounds complementing the resonance provided by the transducer that provided access
through physical sensations in the body. The transducer was designed to only play audio signals between 120 Hz and 40 Hz.
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Given the power delivered through the subwoofer and transducer, the opening track of Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the Moon
(Pink Floyd 1973) led to tremendous shaking of the modified chair and studio in which it was placed. As part of the
development process some of the initial testing was documented by smart phone. However as discussed earlier, low frequencies
can’t be detected through conventional sound recording equipment. Thus, on playback through mobile phone or computer, the
modulated infrasound was inaudible and only the vocal reactions and the rattling of loose objects on tables were audible. A
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video example from the development phase can be found here (doi link will be provided to data repository once paper accepted)
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2.3 Infrasound processing method
The next part of the project was to turn the infrasonic recordings described in section 2.1 into something that could be played
through the transducer and large subwoofer. In their current state they would be inaudible and would not register on the
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transducer or subwoofer. In addition to this background noise, for example from wind passing over the sensor, also needed to
be filtered out. To achieve this a digital bandpass filter was applied over the raw infrasound data. A bandpass filter is a physical
or software device which allows a frequency between two given frequencies to pass, whilst frequencies outside of this range
are removed. The spectrograms in figures 2 and 3 were used to define the upper and lower limits of the band pass filter, by
establishing the frequency range in which the infrasonic signatures were largest.
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The first approach was to use the amplitude of the bandpass filtered infrasound signal to modulate a tone at a range of low
frequencies between 60 and 100 Hz. This gave mixed results. At first it gave an unworldly noise, with the rig making a zooming
noise as the shaking and rumbling changed intensity at random speeds, sounding like a sci fi effect. A single tone was successful
in yielding an interpretation of infrasound. However, we felt that it didn’t encapsulate what infrasound might sound like if we
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could hear it. One thing which was lacking was a depth, which was largely due to the monochromatic tone used and it was felt
that a mix of frequencies would amount to a larger sense of resonant layers and feeling of being immersed in the infrasound.
Hence, an alternative was to create a deep polyphonic tone. The method to achieve this was to firstly create pink noise. Noise
is sometimes described by likening its spectrum to the optical spectrum of colours. White noise is the hiss noticeable on radios
tuned away from a radio station, and its spectral power is constant over all frequency bands. Pink noise’s spectral power is
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inversely proportional to the audio frequency. This gives an effect where low frequency noise is more dominant than higher
frequency noise, giving a rumbling sensation that surrounds and is felt bodily like sitting on an airplane or being close to bass
speakers at a Rock concert.
The bandpass filtered infrasound signal was then used to modulate the amplitude of synthetic generated pink noise. to ensure
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a deep rumbling was experienced through the prototype rig a further low pass filter, a filter similar to the band pass filter but
only removing high frequency sounds was then applied. This produced a low rumbling noise to be played through both the
subwoofer and transducer, the rumbling changing in amplitude as determined by the raw infrasonic signal. This produced an
effect that we felt was relatable to infrasound if we could hear it, while keeping translatable authenticity, something that was
important to hertzs ethos. The polyphonic processed infrasound recordings now had more depth and character, which began
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conveying an emotion and sense of majesty about our planet that the project had yearned to create. For example, the sound of
Mount Etna seemed to have a dark feel to it with unpredictable and at times violent ‘outburst’ of sound. The Aurora felt it had
a more soothing rhythmic feel with less extreme changes in volume and intensity. The sound was too low in frequency to be
recorded on a device like a laptop or a phone. This meant you had to physically be present in order to sense the frequencies,
making it an immersive and experiential artwork.
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2.4 Outreach activities and reception
Initial development of the prototype rig finished in late 2017. Following this several opportunities arose to demonstrate the
prototype rig to the public and experts in both art and science fields. Table 1 shows a list of public outreach events. Figure 6
shows two members of the public listening to infrasound in a gallery space in the Attenborough Centre, Leicester, United
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Kingdom. As mentioned, hertz was to be accessible to as many disabled people as possible. hertz not only delivered in the
practicalities of access needs but also had the ability to be experienced through a number of different senses, auditorily, bodily
and visually. The success of this was borne out in Attenborough where the visitors were attending a conference, organised by
the disabled artist’s commissioning organisation Unlimited, and encompassed a wide range of disabilities. Responses were
sought from those experiencing the artwork, which included:
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‘Epic.’ ‘Ground-breaking.’ ‘A whole world around me I couldn’t see but felt connected to.’
‘In this piece, I can time travel and contemplate the geometry of sound into matter – wow. Mind-blowing
and poetic.’
‘Incredible vibrations.
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‘Primeval, dramatic, disconcerting and yet thrilling.’
In addition to the feedback received in person, Max Reinhardt of BBC Radio 3’s late Junction played excerpts of infrasound
from the aurora borealis. The infrasound had been reprocessed, so it was just audible for listening on radio on his show and
said what ‘What a totally astounding and amazing project’. There was further positive media coverage of the initial prototyping
in Disability Arts Online Magazine (Caulfield 2017) and Physics World online blog (Kalaugher 2018)
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3 Developing hertz for tour
Following, the running of the prototypes at the venues shown in table 1 and the positive feedback from the public, a tour was
commissioned which would see hertz being exhibited to the public at three places across the UK. It was realised if the
installations were to tour, further development would be needed. The first extensive upgrade was to increase the amount of
furniture, with accessibility in mind, that vibrated allowing more people to experience the infrasound vibrations. The second
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was to upgrade the software that played the infrasound through the subwoofer and transducers. This was to make it (a) stand-
alone, meaning minimal operator input, and (b) configuring the software to play infrasound recorded at the locale of installation
in real-time. The first part of the work was to replace the wheelchair and attached transducer with more rigid furniture. A steel
garden bench and chair which conducted vibrations well were each fitted with a transducer and linked to the existing subwoofer
and playback system. The second part, to overhaul the playback system, involved replacing the laptop PC shown in figure 5,
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with a small stand-alone computer (a Raspberry Pi) so it could be easily concealed. The INFRA20 infrasound sensor’s cable
was extended so it could be placed outside whilst being connected to the Raspberry Pi. Further to this the Pi was configured
to obtain data from the infrasound sensor, process it, and play back the processed infrasound signal in real time through the
subwoofer and transducers. This allowed the real time infrasound of a location to be experienced. As computer peripherals
such as a mouse and keyboard would detach from the aesthetics of the installation, the Pi was configured to run in a ‘dead
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head’ mode, meaning a graphics user interface was not needed and any settings could be altered solely through keyboard
commands. The Pi was also configured to begin the real time acquisition of data on start up further minimizing operator input.
Figure 7 shows a photo of the finalised piece.
4 Assessment of feedback during tour
The tour of hertz occurred between October 2018 and February 2019. The first tour location was at the Oxford Science and
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Ideas Festival in October 2018. Audience members had the opportunity to engage with the artworks in a hands-on way. They
were introduced to the pieces and the science behind it by the co-authors and, astrophysicist, Bill Chaplin. During three
bookable sessions, visitors were able to meet the artist and collaborators and interact with the artwork, ask questions, react and
explore the concepts and research behind the work, and give feedback. The audience was largely made up of families and those
with an interest in science, as shown in figure 8.
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Later that month from 18th - 21st October, hertz was exhibited at the Tramway art-space at Glasgow, UK as part of the
Unlimited, the main funders of hertz, festival as shown in figure 7. The equipment was shipped to Glasgow and assembled by
the on-site gallery staff. For this tour stop, due to time constraints it was not possible for the co-authors behind the project to
promote hertz on site. This also yielded an opportunity to see how well hertz would thrive as an installation and educational
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tool in a standalone format. The final stop of the tour was at We the Curious, Bristol between November 2018 and February
2019. Table 2 summarises the tour dates and the numbers of visitors. At all three locations a table was present where visitors
could leave feedback and take away postcards with relevant key and interesting facts about the research for further interest. To
assist in promoting hertz to the public and increase awareness of hertz at the tour locations, and the science behind it, hertz
was promoted through a twitter account and website (https://julietrobson.com/blog/), launched mid-2017. It was also promoted
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by each venue through their publicity outlets and by Unlimited, the core project funder, on their website and social media. In
this section we will discuss the feedback from each of the tour locations and the project’s online presence.
4.1 Oxford Science and Idea Festival
Feedback from the public was generally positive with the following comments left by visitors to the event:
“Love how it is very interactive and engaging. It can be as complicated as you like. Brilliant!’
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“Really fun and exciting.”
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“Amazing and fascinating. It was wonderful.”
A video was also produced commissioned by Oxford contemporary music (https://vimeo.com/306844807) which documents
the day and the reactions of the public. During the video one young visitor left a comment on a whiteboard saying “I wasn’t
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into physics really, until now!”. This comment in particular is positive, given that the aims of the project were to build an
informative artwork which would also raise the profile of the physical sciences behind the project. The visitors shown in the
video appear to enjoy hertz installation with many of the expressions on their face being of one enjoying themselves and
intrigue. One young visitor was inspired so much that they got back in touch to do work experience week with the co-authors
and spend a day at the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology.
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4.2 Tramway, Glasgow
For the period of the tour at the Tramway the style of feedback differed to that shown discussed in section 4.1 and without the
project leaders present it was hard to gauge what individuals thought. Also, for reasons unknown footfall was not obtained
either. However, Tramway’s curator was extremely happy with the finished install and said The install was amazing. I thought
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it was simply stunning!!!”. Some more general feedback was provided by the venue and unlimited which cited some
improvements which could be worked upon:
Could be more signage to indicate where works were
Interpretation information could have been better placed
Some people wanted more specific details about how the infrasound was working, while some were happy to
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just experience the work in their own way
The first two points here seem site specific and came about in part due to the project leaders not being present for the installation
to check the layout, information and signage were in the right place. Without a communicator present, these aspects were
especially important. In response to comments, changes were made to the amount of information presented to allow the longest
run of the tour to work effectively.
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4.3 We The Curious, Bristol
The exhibition at We The Curious had by far the largest amount of public engagement this is likely due to the 3 month period
it was installed for. We The Curious was able to provide some more in depth analysis and were able to provide such statistics
as: the average amount of time spent at the infrasound exhibit was 8 minutes and 3 minutes for the chladni plates, and that the
majority of people sat on both pieces of furniture during their visit, broadening their experience. Further to this 95% of people
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who visited engaged with both the infrasound and the chladni plates. We The Curious was also able to poll people’s opinions
and they found that 85% of visitors said they felt a stronger connection to the hidden sounds of the earth after this exhibit and
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91% said they felt they understood more about infrasound based on their interaction with the piece. A word cloud was also
created using words that were used to describe the project by the public, this is shown in figure 9. The main words that featured
mostly were: “loud”, “interesting”, “fun” and “mysterious”. This indicates a mainly positive reception which stimulated
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interest in our environment and the science behind the installation. There were a few negative words such as “annoying” and
“scary”. This shows us that the installation did not forge as positive a connection with those individuals as it did with others:
nevertheless, connections were still made. There were some more extended pieces of feedback, left on the postcards left for
feedback, one is shown in figure 10. Here the visitor is very excited about both the infrasound and chladni plates and states at
the end it has provoked feelings, which is the sense of grounding back to our environment that the project had set out to
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achieve.
There were some who found the experience overwhelming. One visitor said: “it’s really strange, I suppose I’d never thought
about how the world around us has a lot more energy and produces a lot more sound than we actually hear. Not sure I’d like it
if my ears could actually interpret all this it’s pretty disorientating.”. Further to this, due to the logistics of the installation
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being at We the Curious for three months, it was not possible to have Q&As with the co-authors. This leads again to some
feedback such as: “I’d love to know more about how you actually interpret that sound. Like, have you just fudged it? Or am I
genuinely listing to the sounds of Bristol?” and “I think it’s a really nice approach –it would be nice to have something actually
explain all the science to me –guess you can’t just keep a scientist in a box”
4.4 Web and online presence
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Assessing hertz’s online presence could be considered as being easier as one can look at the number of visits, views and
interactions across twitter and the website. The twitter account that was set up by the end of the hertz tour had 153 followers
and made 37000 impressions on twitter. During the tour the website received 626 visits and 3262 visits since the website went
live a year before the tour. However, one of the problems with social media metrics is that you don’t necessarily know the
impact you have had on your audience. There were plenty of likes and retweets on the twitter account but not many comments
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to see what people thought of hertz.
5 Reviewing the science-art relationship
hertz is a multi-disciplinary project which required Robson, well versed in the arts, and Marlton, Chaplin and Gibbs, academics
with a STEM background to work together. The two backgrounds have very different practices. For the arts, the objectives of
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a Research and Development project such as the first stage of hertz within boundaries can be fluid and allows for blue sky
thinking. This freedom is appealing to a scientist who typically works on projects that are constrained to a particular question
or are required to produce a very specific outcome. Methodologies used in each discipline initially seem distinctly different.
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For example, in an art project the artist may create a small concept piece or drawing and iterate on the piece towards a finished
work. Along the creative path, ideas may change or be put aside, different lines of enquiry may open, and the finished piece
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may, on the surface bear little resemblance to the initial concept piece. This will be influenced by the nature of the piece and
the artist concerned. On the other hand a scientist will perform and outline an experiment, make detailed recordings of the
outcomes and use mathematical deduction to test the hypothesis, often repeating the same experiment several times and there
is generally little room for subjectivity in the interpretation of the outcome, other than in how the results might be presented.
In this respect the methodologies can be quite different, and the disciplines differ, yet, in science, a scientist or team of scientists
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will often perform investigations over several years that critically depended on moments of inspiration and creativity. The
outcome from an experiment will often inform the next experiment. For example it may be found that there may be a
relationship between X and Y found in the first experiment, but a further experiment may be undertaken to see how it varies
with Z. Isaac Newton was noted for saying “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
meaning that even the greatest scientific breakthroughs are a consequence of experiments done by forerunners. Artworks too,
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come about through being influenced by or reacting to art traditions or historical art works . In these extensive iterative and
creative processes, the approaches of both art and science are similar.
When hertz began as a research and development process there was a common iterative process which has been shown in
sections 2 and 3. However, in order to achieve this, the early stages were spent working on communication, understanding
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each other’s terminologies, methodologies and describing processes to each other in laymen sense to convey each
collaborator’s discipline, expertise and objectives. Robson is no stranger to this and knew historically that Art and Science
haven’t always been so distinct, and indeed Robson’s father was a plant physiologist and poet who was often a sounding board
for her projects. Hence, Robson sought to promote this in hertz, through developing a strong and unique working relationship
between the collaborators. At times, however, expectations of artist and scientist inevitably differed. For example, in one of
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the first sessions where the infrasound prototype was set up, the speaker and transducer jumped into life playing one of the
infrasound recordings for the first time. Marlton’s reaction was “...well at least we know that works, now we should tweak
it...”, whereas Robson saw it as a major breakthrough in bringing the concept art in figure 2 to being a reality.
In addition to the different methodologies that were melded together, each collaborator brought different aspects together
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which would not normally meet. For example, Marlton brought experience and contacts from science and technology and
Robson brought contacts from the world of art such as art curators, commissioners, funders and programmers. hertz then
became an art installation in its own right that was packed with loads of underlying science. It was set up for the public to
appreciate it as an experiential interactive artwork, while learning about the underlying science as described in section 4
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As part of the exhibits, Marlton and Robson were interviewed about how their attitudes, perceptions and knowledge about
have changed due to the project. Robson responded:
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This is the first time working with scientists in this way. I would say this project (hertz) as a whole has given me an
understanding of the ways artists and scientists can collaborate, affect each other’s work and learn each other’s language.
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There may be different priorities for the artist and the scientist and if attached to an organisation. There are also the funders
priorities of the artwork or artist. Juggling and doing justice to the needs and agendas of different people and bodies has been
a learning curve and something to take forward in my career. In terms of my practise it has been a very enjoyable process and
I will continue to collaborate and work with scientists. Bill (Chaplin) one of the collaborators on hertz has experience in
collaborating with artists. His approach is a good example of how a collaboration between artists and scientists can work well
325
in terms of mutual needs and respect for each other’s work: creating something that is more than an educational tool for the
scientist, something that can inspire audiences to find out more about the research the scientists do and has authenticity but
that stands alone as as artwork that has meaning in different contexts be that artistic scientific or other. This can only be
achieved with a commitment by the artist to meaningfully engage in the scientific research and for the scientist to trust the
artist and their ability to create something that can reach a wide audience and communicate with them.”
330
Marlton was also interviewed about how the project has changed his attitudes:
“If I told you I’d made a chair that vibrates to the sound of the earth, people might have been, like, so what? But with the use
of Juliet’s (Robson) experience, hertz has been presented, raised in profile and her creative license and skills have been used
to create an installation that engages and enthrals the public, I couldn’t have done that myself.”
335
“...I’m more interested now in different ways of displaying data. I make a data plot and sometimes, I think we could turn it
into something you could feel, or hear and it has opened up new ways of visualising data, especially if it is something quite
complex. So I’m more open to when you look at data or something thinking what could I do with this? I guess learning from
Julie, who looks at something and thinks of several quite out the box things that could be done with it. So I guess as a result of
340
hertz I now think a lot more out of the box.”
In summary, both contributors forged a good working relationship. They had their preconceptions changed by their interaction
and developed a wider appreciation of each other’s activities as a result.
6 Conclusions
345
The collaboration between the artist and scientists worked well and is a good model for future art science collaborations. It
worked well because the two disciplines, despite their overlying differences nevertheless share some common methodologies
in creativity, allowing them to work objectively towards a common goal and because of a willingness to learn about each
other’s worlds. When working together it was important to articulate ideas clearly and simply and be prepared to explain ideas
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in a step by step fashion. It was also important to be open and generous when understanding and delivering what each other’s
350
needs for the project were according to their own personal and professional agendas. This project reaped the rewards of the
different collaborators bringing their experiences together to make an immersive educational piece. Further to this, the long-
lasting implications of the project to the individuals are that they have learnt a lot about each other and this has changed their
perceptions about how they may conduct their respective works in the future.
355
One of the overarching aims of the project was to produce an installation that would allow people to feel grounded with the
environment that more than ever people are feeling isolated from. Looking at the feedback and the word cloud in figure 10
where words such as ‘atmospheric’, ‘enlightening’, ‘relaxing’ show that the installations are making people think about the
environment around them. Given that our environment is under threat due to climate change and pollution, a piece such as
hertz acts to remind us all of the imperative to be aware of the natural world around us. Given the importance of drawing
360
attention to our environment, and the success of hertz and its potential for flexibility in size and use of infrasound material,
the future of further collaborations looks bright. For example, an installation could be set up in an underground station where
large sections of the space vibrate and shake. hertz also demonstrates that there is considerable potential for outdoor structures
and street furniture to have transducers attached to widen opportunities for experiential art.
Acknowledgements
365
R&D Grant from the arts commissioning body Unlimited (https://weareunlimited.org.uk). Co-commissioned and supported
by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, funded by Arts Council England. Co-commissioned and supported by
We The Curious and Oxford Contemporary Music. The Friends of the University of Reading provided a small grant to fund
the furniture and hardware used during the project. During the project GJM was funded by the ARISE2 project a collaborative
infrastructure design study project funded by the European Commission H2020 program (grant number 653980,arise‐
370
project.eu). Special thanks go to Giles Harrison, for his constructive input into helping shape this manuscript and sharing his
experiences of art-science collaborations. We’d also like to thank our technician Martin for carrying out the onsite installs and
strip downs.
Ethical considerations
375
All feedback received from members of the public had been anonymised where needed. At events where photos and videos
were taken an opt-out policy was adopted where people who did not want to be in the photos or videos were asked to make
themselves known or wear a wristband so the photographer knew not to include them in frame. People experiencing the artwork
chose to do so at their own will and were free to leave or stop partaking at any point.
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380
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225, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-017-9444-0 , 2018
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Christie, D. R., & Campus, P.:The IMS infrasound network: Design and establishment of infrasound stations. Infrasound
monitoring for atmospheric studies, 2975. https://doi.org/10.1007/978‐1‐4020‐9508‐5_2, 2010
Caulified D.: What if you could here the stars singing? Juliet Robson’s hertz, Disability Arts Online,
https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/hear-stars-singing-juliet-robsons-hertz/ , 2017
Chaplin, W.J., Kjeldsen, H., Christensen-Dalsgaard, J., Basu, S., Miglio, A., Appourchaux, T., Bedding, T.R., Elsworth, Y.,
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García, R.A., Gilliland, R.L. and Girardi, L.: Ensemble asteroseismology of solar-type stars with the NASA Kepler mission.
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Pink Floyd,: Breeth, Dark Side of the Moon, Harvest Records, 1973
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Smets, P., Assink, J., & Evers, L.: The study of sudden stratospheric warmings using infrasound. In Infrasound Monitoring
for Atmospheric Studies (pp. 723-755). Springer, Cham, 2019
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Williams, G.: Are artists the new interpreters of scientific innovation. New York Times, https://nyti.ms/2eSmlxt, 2017
Wilson, C. R.:. Auroral infrasonic waves. Journal of Geophysical Research, 74(7), 1812-1836. 1969
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405
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Figures
Figure 1 One of Robson’s initial drawings of hertz in an urban park. Blue and white striped deckchairs, other furniture
and wheelchair; three people sitting, one in deckchair, one using a wheelchair and one lies on a sun lounger. Figures
415
are drawn in red. Among the furniture is a large subwoofer. The furniture would have transducers attached to vibrate
them and the subwoofer would play the sounds of a large ocean wave or storm a long way off the coast.
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Figure 2: Sources of infrasound both manmade and naturally occurring from ARISE website (arise‐project.eu)
420
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Figure 3: A spectrogram of infrasound data obtained by an INFRA200 sensor placed situated in the SE Reading
suburbs from 18th July 2017 to the morning of the 19th July 2017. (On the x-axis is local time in hours on the y-axis is
the frequency of the infrasound signals. The colour bar on the right shows the strength of the infrasound signals.)
425
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Figure 4: A spectrogram of infrasound data from the infrasound sensor placed situated in Pallas Finland on 22nd
September 2019. (On the x-axis is local time in hours on the y-axis is the frequency of the infrasound signals. The colour
bar on the right shows the strength of the infrasound signals.)
430
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Figure 5: Schematic of hertz prototype rig.
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Figure 6: Be There At The start conference. Two people experience the effect of infrasound played through the
435
transducer and large subwoofer in a gallery space. They both face a subwoofer that fills the room with low frequency
reverberation of sound.
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Figure 7: Finalised version of the hertz infrasound installation at the Tramway, Glasgow. Two members of the public
sit on the furniture which has the transducers (blue) clamped underneath. The powerful subwoofer is in the
440
background.
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445
Figure 8: Left: Juliet Robson introduces hertz to the public at the Oxford Science and Ideas Festival, October 2018.
Right: a young member of the audience experiences the reverberations of infrasound from the Oxford locality through
one of the metal chairs.
Figure 9: A word cloud summarising the words used to describe the hertz project by the public at we the curious
450
during its exhibition between November 2018 and March 2019.
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Figure 10: Feedback at we the curious from one visitor to the visit.
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Tables
475
Date
Location
People
Audience
November 2017
Wyfold Lane studio,
Oxfordshire, UK
11
Funders of R&D, potential
hertz supporters and
programmers and
Scientists.
March 2018
Wyfold Lane studio,
Oxfordshire, UK
25
Local families and school
children
March 2018
101 outdoor Arts, Newbury,
Berkshire, UK
15
Resident artists, Art
Commissioners and bbc 3
presenter Max Ernst
March 2018
Be there at the Start
Conference, Attenborough
Arts Centre, Leicester, UK
100
General Public
April 2018
Session EOS8 Scientists,
artists and the Earth: co-
operating for a better planet
sustainability, EGU 2018,
Vienna, Austria
35
Scientists
April 2018
We the Curious - After
Hours Event, Bristol UK
50-70
Artists
Table 1: List of public engagement activities where the hertz prototype were shown
Date
Audience Numbers
15/10/18
55
18/10/18-21/10/18
Unknown
7/11/18-28/3/1
6786
Table 2: Hertz tour locations and audience numbers
480
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This paper reviews recent progress toward understanding the dynamics of the middle atmosphere in the framework of the Atmospheric Dynamics Research InfraStructure in Europe (ARISE) initiative. The middle atmosphere, integrating the stratosphere and mesosphere, is a crucial region which influences tropospheric weather and climate. Enhancing the understanding of middle atmosphere dynamics requires improved measurement of the propagation and breaking of planetary and gravity waves originating in the lowest levels of the atmosphere. Inter-comparison studies have shown large discrepancies between observations and models, especially during unresolved disturbances such as sudden stratospheric warmings for which model accuracy is poorer due to a lack of observational constraints. Correctly predicting the variability of the middle atmosphere can lead to improvements in tropospheric weather forecasts on timescales of weeks to season. The ARISE project integrates different station networks providing observations from ground to the lower thermosphere, including the infrasound system developed for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty verification, the Lidar Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change, complementary meteor radars, wind radiometers, ionospheric sounders and satellites. This paper presents several examples which show how multi-instrument observations can provide a better description of the vertical dynamics structure of the middle atmosphere, especially during large disturbances such as gravity waves activity and stratospheric warming events. The paper then demonstrates the interest of ARISE data in data assimilation for weather forecasting and re-analyzes the determination of dynamics evolution with climate change and the monitoring of atmospheric extreme events which have an atmospheric signature, such as thunderstorms or volcanic eruptions.
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In addition to its search for extrasolar planets, the NASA Kepler mission provides exquisite data on stellar oscillations. We report the detections of oscillations in 500 solar-type stars in the Kepler field of view, an ensemble that is large enough to allow statistical studies of intrinsic stellar properties (such as mass, radius, and age) and to test theories of stellar evolution. We find that the distribution of observed masses of these stars shows intriguing differences to predictions from models of synthetic stellar populations in the Galaxy.
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Infrasound has a long history in monitoring SSWs. Several pioneering studies have focused on the various effects of a major warming on the propagation of infrasound, described throughout this chapter. A clear transition can be denoted from observing anomalous signatures towards the use of these signals to study anomalies in upper atmospheric specifications. First studies describe the various infrasonic signatures of a major warming. In general, the significant change in observed infrasoundcharacteristics correspond to summer-like conditions in midwinter. More subtle changes are denoted during a minor warming, recognizable by the presence of a bidirectional stratospheric duct. A combined analysis of all signalcharacteristic unravels the general stratospheric structure throughout the life cycle of the warming. From then on, infrasound observations are used to evaluate the state of the atmosphere as represented by various NWP models. A new methodology, comparing regional volcanoinfrasound with simulations using various forecast steps, indicates interesting variations in stratospheric skill.
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The signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 24 September 1996 and the establishment of the International Monitoring System (IMS) for Treaty verification has led to a rapid development in the use of infrasound monitoring technology for the detection of nuclear explosions. The IMS includes a 60-station infrasound monitoring network that is designed to reliably detect infrasonic signals from a 1-kiloton atmospheric nuclear explosion at two or more network stations. The stations in this network are located uniformly over the face of the globe. Each station consists of an array of high-sensitivity microbarometer sensors arranged in an optimal configuration for the detection of signals from atmospheric explosions. The construction of this global infrasound monitoring system is nearing completion. In this chapter, we focus on the fundamental design principles for IMS infrasonic array stations with an emphasis on the recent developments in array design, improvements in infrasound sensor technology, and advances in background noise reduction that can potentially improve the monitoring capability and reliability of the global network.
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The morphology of auroral infrasonic waves at College, Alaska, is related to the temporal and spatial distributions of supersonic auroral motions that develop within the auroral oval during polar magnetic substorms. The break-up phase of the auroral substorm results in the rapid auroral motions that generate the observed infrasonic waves. Direct observations of infrasonic wave packets from overhead supersonic auroral forms, as well as the comparison of the morphologies of infrasonic waves and auroral motions are used to verify a shock wave model for the generation of auroral infrasonic waves. Electrodynamic drift and joule heating associated with the auroral electrojets in auroras that produce infrasonic shock waves are accepted as the basic processes that generate the initial acoustic pulse within a moving auroral form.
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Chladni belonged to those few scientists who have been able to arouse enthusiasm for their work not only in professional circles, but also in the lay public. During several journeys all over Europe Chladni demonstrated the sound figures he had discovered as well as the musical instruments invented by him. In this respect the invitation pronounced by Napoleon during a longer stay in Paris to show his experiments at the imperial court was undoubtedly a highlight. Chladni has given a personal report on this event. In this article is shall be tried to sketch Chladni's character, based on his own writings but also on comments of his contemporaries.
What if you could here the stars singing? Juliet Robson's hertz
  • D Caulified
Caulified D.: What if you could here the stars singing? Juliet Robson's hertz, Disability Arts Online, https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/hear-stars-singing-juliet-robsons-hertz/, 2017
  • L Kalaugher
Kalaugher L.: EGU 2018: shaken not stirred, Earth Sciences Blog, http://blog.environmentalresearchweb.org/2018/04/11/egu-2018-shaken-not-stirred/, 2018
Are artists the new interpreters of scientific innovation
  • G Williams
Williams, G.: Are artists the new interpreters of scientific innovation. New York Times, https://nyti.ms/2eSmlxt, 2017
Discussion started: 16 March 2020 c Author(s) 2020. CC BY 4.0 License. Figure 5: Schematic of hertz prototype rig
  • Preprint
Preprint. Discussion started: 16 March 2020 c Author(s) 2020. CC BY 4.0 License. Figure 5: Schematic of hertz prototype rig.