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Science Cafe: The Beauty and Biology of Nature Sounds

  • Thursday, April 14, 2016
  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

The sounds of nature have inspired scientists and artists for generations. We often focus on the sound produced by a single source, such as the wind through the trees, a chirping cricket, or the song of a particular bird. The musician and ecologist Bernie Krause has made a career out of recording and analyzing soundscapes of various habitats and across time. He coined the term “biophony” to refer to the diversity of sounds produced by all the non-human organisms in a particular time and location. His work inspired composer Richard Blackford’s “The Great Animal Symphony Orchestra,” being performed April 17 at NC State University. In this week’s Science Cafe, Richard Blackford will discuss his Symphony, the work of Bernie Krause, and what has been discovered by comparing soundscapes over time. Mr. Blackford will be joined by Museum biologist Daniel Fergus who will discuss his work with acoustic communication in fish and crickets.

About our Speakers

Richard Blackford studied composition at the Royal College of Music, then in Italy with Hans Werner Henze. He was the first Composer in Residence at Balliol College, Oxford. He has composed concert music, four operas, two musicals, and scores for over two hundred films. He has received many nominations and awards for his work as both conductor and composer.

Daniel Fergus received his PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University. He works in the Museum’s Genomics Lab, where he studies the genetic basis of natural variation in animals.


April 14, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Daily Planet Cafe

Downtown Raleigh
11 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States


Katey Ahmann