Good vibrations: "Playing the web"

Using the sonorous qualities of a famous kinetic sculpture has her point of departure, Cocktail Party Physicist Jennifer Ouellette describes how science and the arts might make use of the discovery of phonons - the rough acoustical equivalent of photons.

Just as we can manipulate light with mirrors or pipe it through fiber optic cables, she describes how phonons might be manipulated in unusual ways. For example, material science might create "blind" and "deaf" materials, substances that do not interact - that have "bandgaps" in other words - for certain optic and sonic frequencies.