Classical acoustics

My friend Tim thought that I didn’t spend enough time reading online news sources/blogs/etc, and pointed me in the direction of an archaeology news page. Today one of the articles is a online Nature article about the acoustics of the amphitheatre at Epidaurus.

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5 responses to “Classical acoustics

  1. Fascinating! But I find this a rather odd statement: “It’s not clear whether this property comes from chance or design.” That seems to show a deep contempt for people living before our present oh-so-brilliant age; why, it’s hard to believe our ancestors could find their asses with both hands! Maybe they just happened to create a perfect acoustic structure! It couldn’t be that ancient architects experimented extensively with materials, layouts, and so on, and by some combination of trial-and-error and math wound up knowing how to design a theater — naw, gotta be dumb luck.

  2. Incidentally, I’ve been at that theater, and it’s quite true: you can stand in the back rows and hear someone whispering on stage. Amazing.

  3. maybe part of the problem is we don’t know all that much about the extent of classical mathematics beyond Euclid and Pythagoras. Apparently there’s a huge amount of material that’s never been translated and needs someone with a maths degree who can read Greek and Latin to work on it.

  4. Right, but whether or not we ever find the relevant texts (assuming they’ve survived), it seems to me the default assumption should be that the people who designed the theater knew what they were doing. Blind chance produces species, but not theaters.

  5. David Marjanović

    Blind chance produces species

    Even that requires natural selection — in other words, trial & error.

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