The World Through Sound


Andrew “Pi” Pyzdek


Andrew “Pi” Pyzdek is a PhD candidate in the Penn State Graduate Program in Acoustics. Andrew’s research interests include array signal processing and underwater acoustics, with a focus on sparse sensor arrays and the coprime array geometry. Andrew also volunteers his time doing acoustics outreach and education as a panelist and moderator on the popular AskScience subreddit and by curating interesting acoustics news for a general audience at

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We are pleased to present a series of articles by former Acoustics Today intern Andrew (Pi) Pyzdek on basic acoustic principles in interesting and unusual ways that anyone, scientist and non-scientist alike, can enjoy. The intern program enables doctoral students or new acousticians who are members of ASA to pursue opportunities, and gain experience, in scientific publication. We invite other ASA members to follow this link to learn more and apply to become an Acoustics Today intern.

Introduction – by Andrew (Pi) Pyzdek

Welcome to The World Through Sound presented by Acoustics Today. Regular readers of Acoustics Today will find this to be a very different sort from material found in the pages of the print magazine. Instead of covering recent or ongoing research, The World Through Sound showcases the basic concepts of acoustics in a way that is accessible to a wide audience but still interesting for experts in the field.

In this article series, readerswill learn about some of the most fundamental concepts in acoustics and how understanding these concepts can enable the reader to better understand larger concepts in science. These articles are part physics lesson and part philosophy, and are meant to be useful for scientists and non-scientists alike. If you are a non-scientist with little exposure to acoustics, you will learn what basic concepts such as sound speed and frequency really mean beyond the mathematical formulas and formal definitions. For seasoned acousticians this series will offer new perspectives that can help you to better explain our science to others.

There are several approaches to reading this series. The natural place to start is at the beginning, with the connected values of Sound SpeedFrequency., and Wavelength. To learn about some of the most misunderstood concepts in acoustics read the articles on Acoustic MediumsAcoustic Impedance, and Resonance. If you are interested in the basic physics behind room acoustics then check out Normal Modes, Reflection and Refraction, and Absorption. And if you want to learn the tricks that scientists use to simplify and represent the world with mathematics look at the articles on Acoustic PressureDecibels, and Linearity. Finally, once you have had your fill of The World Through Sound, you can check out all the other articles in Acoustics Today!

I truly hope that you enjoy reading The World Through Sound as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. And if you do enjoy the series, please consider following me on twitter and reading my blog at where I share interesting acoustics facts and news every week!

3 • The World Through Sound: Wavelength

3 • The World Through Sound: Wavelength

Welcome to the third installment of “The World Through Sound,” the Acoustics Today web series that shows how understanding just a few concepts in acoustics can change the way you see the world around you. Last time we considered frequency and how the relationship...