All posts by LL

Generation Y Workforce

Generation Y entered the workforce a few years ago now, and many of that generation now have doctorates and are starting their scientific careers in earnest. This week, ScienceCareers takes a look at these new young scientists to make sense of this new workforce and the workplace that Generation Y-ers are entering. Here’s a preview, with contributing editor Kate Travis and contributing writer Lucas Laursen.

Hear the original [mp3], read it [pdf] or read the story behind the story here…

This was my first podcast voicing experience. I had scripted a couple of podcasts for Let’s Go in my previous life, but it’s a whole different experience lending your voice to your words. My editor actually did the interviews with the sources for this story, and recruited me as a Gen-Y punching bag.

Altared State: The Russian Church Reborn

Bell-ringing has a glorious tradition in Russia. Bells toll for prayers and festivals, and give rhythm to daily life. It can take three years to learn to play them, and one bell-ringing monk calls them “a part of the Russian soul.” So the planned return of St Daniel’s historic bells from America this August, after eight decades of exile at Harvard University, is big news.

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Motets, Monks, and Mortar

motetsAn architectural historian has taken a choir to Venice to determine how much Renaissance architects and composers shaped each other’s work. Last spring, with acousticians and musicologists, Deborah Howard of Cambridge University in the U.K. led an experimental public concert tour on which the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, performed Renaissance works in 11 Venetian churches and monasteries, including the San Marco basilica.

Recordings, as well as audience reactions, indicated that complex polyphonic pieces reverberated too much throughout large spaces such as the basilica but sounded right in San Marco’s smaller ducal chapel. Monastery chapels were the best settings for resonant but straightforward chants. And humbler parish churches adorned with sound-damping tapestries were suited to simple hymn singing. “Each church did generate the kind of acoustic that was appropriate” to its needs, says Howard, showing that architects designed with acoustics in mind.

Composers also probably tailored their work to specific buildings, says Howard, who presented her findings at this month’s Cambridge Science Festival. For example, the team found compositions calling for a double choir that in a reverberating space such as San Marco would achieve a “surround sound” effect. “We suppose that many musicians compose their work having in mind a very particular kind of place,” says applied physicist Francesco Martellotta of the Polytechnic University of Bari, “but in this case, it is clearly documented.”

First published as a Random Sample in Science Magazine: [html] [pdf]