“What like the guitar?” is the usual response I get when I tell someone I’m studying acoustics at Uni; either that or, “so you make music?” or “what instrument do you play then?” or as someone on the tram said to me today “I guess people hear you coming then!”
First of all I would like to point out that I don’t blame people or think of them any less when they do ask these things, it’s a specialist area and I didn’t know what it was really either until a couple of years ago.
My interests originally began in audio where, even from a young age I loved the idea of anything technical or mechanical and even more so if it had electronics in it; so when I found out about an audio mixing desk, my mind was almost blown by the sheer number of space-like knobs, sliders and buttons! This fascination didn’t fade as I grew up, but instead shifted from wanting to know how operate a mixing desk, to wanting to know how to build a mixing desk.
When the time came to look for universities, I was looking at predominantly audio-based courses, of which Salford University was one of my options. I noticed that there was this thing called acoustics in several of the modules, which seemed interesting, and when combined with the appeals of MediaCityUK, was enough to persuade me to make Salford my first choice. As I started the course I grew more of an interest in acoustics and (although I still maintained an interest in the audio and electronics areas) this gradually became a more appealing area for me to pursue a career in, which has now put me where I am today.
So if it’s not about guitars or music, what is it about? Well, to quote the dictionary it is “the branch or physics that deals with sound and sound waves”, which practically speaking means a career for me as an acoustic consultant. There are 2 main aspects I am looking into as I aim to become an Acoustic Consultant, being Architectural Acoustics and Environmental Noise, which are both to do with the design of buildings in relation to how they will sound and the assessment/control of sound in areas respectively.
One main reason many people may not have necessarily heard of this is because it is relatively new (particularly the Environmental Noise aspect of it) to building regulations, so has not been so widely known before. Despite this, I believe acoustics is a great career to go into (obviously) as although it has been around for a long time, it is still developing greatly right now. Hopefully as I progress in my career more and more people will have heard of and understand acoustics.
What are your thoughts and opinions on the field of acoustics, have you ever heard of it before?