Professor William Chaplin is a professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, and leads the Asteroseismology program of the NASA Kepler Mission.
We’re thrilled to have Professor William Chaplin on the podcast this week to look at audio from the fascinating perspective of someone who focuses on what could be loosely termed the sound of stars. We dive deep with him on some incredibly interesting topics like how sound works in space, how he’s able to measure the resonances of objects that are countless light years away, and how all of that can inform the way we think about sound here on earth.
“Think of the total energy bound up in the sound that’s contained in a star. It’s hugely, hugely, vastly bigger than the energy that you have tied up in someone playing a musical instrument. But it’s the same fundamentals, the same principles.” – William Chaplin
ON THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
3:21 – What drove the professor to study sound in relation to objects in space
7:21 – The basics of exactly how we can measure the sound waves inside a star
11:59 – How light was used to read stars
13:10 – How to map an object or location that’s hundreds of light years away
18:18 – Parallels between sound on Earth and sound in space
20:17 – How the nature of sound changes under extreme conditions
22:16 – How their work with stars helps them understand more about our own sun
25:24 – The professor’s thoughts on extraterrestrial life
28:09 – Our dependence on technology as a society
33:53 – How the professor got involved with NASA
40:54 – How the professor works with other members of their consortium, including some details on how they share data
51:07 -How to know when you’re approaching a dead end (and it may be time to simply start over)
55:45 – How they work with “fake data”
59:59 – Why so many critical scientific discoveries are essentially happy accidents
1:04:49 – Why the professors work can be its own artform at times
1:07:47 – How to find those “lightbulb moments”
1:14:47 – The professor’s thoughts on the fact that he won’t see the end of the work (since it could continue on for hundreds of years)
1:18:13 – The analytical tools and methods in the professor’s line of work that could be used to produce new kinds of sounds
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