'Cox’s enthusiasm for his specialty is contagious. I’ll now be keeping my ears wide open' – Washington Post
A celebration of the science of sound, by a top researcher and broadcaster who has studied why people hate the noise of fingernails scraping on a chalkboard, constructed the world’s largest whoopee cushion and disproved the old saying that a duck’s quack produces no echo.
Creaking glaciers, whispering galleries, stalactite organs, musical roads, squeaking beaches, groaning waterwheels, frogs that croak in Mexican waves, Mayan pyramids that produce echoes that chirp like a bird – these are just a sample of the impressive, strange and surprising sounds that the acoustic engineer Trevor Cox has tracked down in his search for the ‘sonic wonders of the world’.
In Sonic Wonderland, he uses his experiences of visiting sewers, caves, tidal bores, burial mounds, sand dunes, concert halls and more to explore how sound is made and altered by the environment, how our body hears, perceives and reacts to peculiar sounds and how sounds and acoustics have inspired musicians, artists and writers.
Ranging across a dizzying array of realms including literature, classical music, history, archaeology, psychology, neuroscience, geology, physics, biology and ecology, the book is an original and compelling tour of the world’s most amazing acoustic phenomena and the sometimes even stranger people behind them – and a passionate plea for a deeper appreciation of and respect for our shared sonic landscapes.