New sound science center opens at University of Arizona

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted the University of Arizona (UofA) $30 million to establish a new sound center, called “New Frontiers of Sound Science and Technology Center.”

The Center will focus on topological acoustics, an emerging field in which researchers exploit the properties of sound in ways that could vastly improve computing, telecommunications and sensing.

To investigate sound through a topological acoustics lens, scientists form a vector by using all of the points in space a sound travels through as graph points on the Hilbert Space. The angle of this amplitude vector is known as the geometric phase and provides a visual representation of the geometry of sound.

Topological acoustics allows researchers to see properties of sound that were not previously visible, like looking at the field with a new pair of eyeglasses, or better yet, listening to it with a new pair of hearing aids.

Professor Pierre Deymier, director and principal investigator of UofA’s New Frontiers of Sounds, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the details of the new center.

“For the past 10 years, people have realized that sound waves can have extraordinary properties,” Deymier said.

He explains that the new center is meant to exploit those properties to benefit society in terms of technology like faster computing speeds, better cell phone technology and better acoustic sensing of the environment.

Pierre Deymier, director and principal investigator of UofA's New Frontiers of Sounds

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