Discord by Mike Goldsmith
The Story of Noise

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Despite his encompassing knowledge about noise, Dr. Goldsmith can seem oddly out of touch with it personally.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Noise is a widely recognized problem and health concern in the modern world. Given the importance of managing noise levels and developing suitable 'soundscapes' in contexts such as industry, schools, or public spaces, this is an area of active research for acousticians. But noise, in the sense of dissonance, can also be used positively; composers have employed it from Baroque music to Rock feedback; medicine harnesses it to shatter kidney stones and treat cancer; and
even the military uses it in (real and rumoured) weapons.

Mike Goldsmith looks back at the long history of the battle between people and noise - a battle that has changed our lives and moulded our societies. He investigates how increasing noise levels relate to human progress, from the clatter of wheels on cobbles to the sound of heavy machinery; he explains how our scientific understanding of sound and hearing has developed; and he looks at noise in nature, including the remarkable ways in which some animals, such as shrimps, use noise as a weapon or
to catch prey. He concludes by turning to the future, discussing the noise sources which are likely to dominate it and the ways in which new science and new ideas may change the way our future will sound.
 

About Mike Goldsmith

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Mike Goldsmith is the former Head of the Acoustic Group at the United Kingdom's National Physical Laboratory and an author of many books for general readers. Two of his books have been short-listed for the Aventis prize (now the Royal Society prize) for science books.
 
Published September 27, 2012 by OUP Oxford. 331 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Discord
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Katherine Bouton on Dec 31 2012

Despite his encompassing knowledge about noise, Dr. Goldsmith can seem oddly out of touch with it personally.

Read Full Review of Discord: The Story of Noise | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by PD Smith on Mar 28 2014

According to Mike Goldsmith, "looking at the history of noise is in some sense a way of looking at the history of ourselves". He begins at the very beginning with the big bang which, disappointingly, was silent...But in this fascinating cornucopia of sound, Goldsmith is optimistic about the future: "we really can have a quieter tomorrow".

Read Full Review of Discord: The Story of Noise | See more reviews from Guardian

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