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Cristina Padovani, Medical Laboratory Sciences with a Biochemistry Minor
Christina Wesolek (preceptor) and Adebanjo Oriade (Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
I am using new knowledge and creativity to develop a variety of integrated physics experiments for non-science majors, particularly focused on sound and light. I examined high and low frequency sounds, the speed of sound through different media, and the harmonics of sounds. I also had a little fun by using chocolate and marshmallows to study the speed of light, specifically that of the electromagnetic spectrum known as microwaves. I even set up an experiment to test reflection and refraction of light through different media: water, salt water, colored water, and 4 different colors of Jell-O! All of this exploration helped direct me to my final summer project in which I am focusing on answering the question: how does the design of a room either help or hinder the acoustics of that room? For my project, I chose one of the four rectangular PBL rooms (Room 315) in the Harker ISE building to determine the reverberation time, frequency, amplitude (feature of a sound wave), and sound level (intensity in dB) when the room is empty, when music is being played, during aclass, and with simple design applications.
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Cristina uses a Sound Level Meter and a Sound
Pressure Meter to record sound waves.
Why is this project important to you?
Music has always been an important and influential part of my life. I have learned how to play multiple instruments, including piano, which I have been playing for 9 years. I am inspired by the designs of concert halls and how those designs were not only intended to be aesthetically pleasing, but were also intended for practical purposes - to reflect and absorb sound within the concert halls. I was intrigued by these unique designs and wanted to delve into architectural acoustics further.
How has this project impacted you both personally and professionally?
This project has challenged me to become more scientifically well-rounded by conducting physics research, which I have not previously done. I learned that I should never be afraid to take on something new and to always keep an open mind. In the future, I would like to work in an oncological research lab. This research project has taught me to make sure that I learn something new every day and I will apply that mindset when I research cancer.
How has the interdisciplinary nature of the work influenced the project?
I have taken several classes in the ISE Lab in the problem-based learning (PBL) rooms, which are great for interdisciplinary group work. In order to improve the learning experience, my goal is to enhance the way that sounds travel in a classroom so that it is easier to hear when discussing a project in small groups, as well as listening to presentations. My summer research study focuses on the way that sound travels so that I can spark changes in the overall design of PBL classrooms.
Cristina analyzes various features of recorded waveforms through a software program.