Although the basis of acoustics was formed in 6th century BC, when Greek philosopher Pythagoras experimented with strings of different lengths and determined the ratios in which the sound produced was more pleasant than the others. However, the modern study of acoustics started with Galileo Galilei when the correlation between pitch and frequency of sound source were determined. Following the footsteps of Galileo, the French mathematician Marin Mersenne studied and published the vibrations of stretched strings providing the basis of many modern musical instruments and a solid formation of acoustics as a field of science. Further research in this field was conducted by many scientists who studied sound effects which made acoustics one of the most famous forms of science in the upcoming centuries.
According to Merriam-Webster Acoustics is defined as the science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound. Acoustics is basically the science of sounds and sound effects. The sound is produced by the mechanical motion of air molecules in a particular direction because of a particular source. The study of this motion and the effects and properties of this motion on the surroundings is called acoustics. Many people think that the term acoustics is strictly confined to musical and architectural studies which are completely wrong. Although acoustics include the study of sound, musical instruments, sound effects and architectural spaces, it is not restricted to it. Applications of acoustics are widespread and can be found in many aspects of life such as noise control technologies, submarine navigation uses SONAR system which is based on acoustics, ultrasounds which are an integral part of modern diagnosis uses the study of acoustics for medical imaging, thermoacoustic is being used for efficient refrigeration, it is also being used in seismology for earthquake detection, owing to large number of possibilist acoustics have also found their way in industrial development and warfare.
A person who studies this science of sound waves, sound effects and mechanical waves is called an acoustician or acoustical engineer. There are many different kinds of acousticians some of which are mentioned below.
- A bio-acoustician can use the knowledge of bird’s sounds to determine the population of certain species in certain areas and detect the effects of manmade noises on different animals and birds.
- An audiologist can use his knowledge of acoustics to help patients with different hearing imparities.
- A hearing scientist can conduct research about hearing loss prevention and different factors affecting hearing.
- An architectural acoustician can use his knowledge of sound effects and design an opera house in such a way that the sound produced can be enjoyed by the people sitting in the audience to its full extent.
- A noise specialist could do work to reduce noise caused by airplanes, cars and trains and other mechanical things such as machinery used in industries.
- An underwater acoustician might design sophisticated sonar hardware to explore the ocean floor and help in the guiding of submarines and ships.
- A biomedical acoustician could develop medical equipment to destroy kidney stones and make equipment using his knowledge of acoustics that can help in detection and prevention of different diseases.
As a major field of science, the study of acoustics is done in most of the major universities in the world. This is an emerging and new field and a lot of research are still pending in this field. In acoustics, these are the main theme studied: production, propagation, control, transmission and reception of sound waves on different things, humans and animals in general.