Sound & Science: Digital Histories
“Sound & Science: Digital Histories” is an online database for the history of acoustics. It serves as a multimedia resource for historians of science, culture, and technology, along with students and other researchers. The database aims to explore the relationship between historical transformations in the study of sound and the scientific, artistic, religious, manufacturing, and political practices that make up their context. How did acoustic knowledge travel between a science of sound and the practice of musicians, engineers, or everyday listeners? How is that knowledge itself a product of diverse sonic strategies, from skilled listening and musical composition to advanced audio engineering?
The database provides difficult-to-access sources in the history of acoustics, such as texts, images, sound recordings, historical reenactments of acoustic experiments, along with entries on the key figures, places, instruments, and technologies that have shaped this history. The source material is presented through curated categories, while an extensible tagging system facilitates research navigation and identifies construction materials, concepts, personal networks, and timelines in the history of acoustics. The print publications of research scholars can be linked back to the database using QR codes. The database also serves as a platform for multimedia essays by linking various different sources.
The database was initiated in 2015 by the research group "Epistemes of Modern Acoustics" at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Since 2020, it is a collaborative project between Humboldt University (Viktoria Tkaczyk), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Hansjakob Ziemer), IRCAM in Paris (Fanny Gribenski), and Ingenium: Canada’s Museum of Sciences and Innovation in Ottawa, Canada (David Pantalony, Tom Everrett). We welcome contributions from scholars in the fields of sound studies, history of science, and audio conservation.
Further Collaborators and Student assistants
Database Advisory Board
Joeri Bruyninckx, PhD
Technology & Society Studies, Maastricht University
Xiaochang Li, PhD
Department of Communication, Standford University
Dr. Rebecca Wolf
Forschungsinstitut für Wissenschafts- und Technikgeschichte
Deutsches Museum Munich
From 2015 to 2020, technical implementation was supported by Robert Casties and Florian Kräutli from the Research IT Group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.
Special thanks to the Epistemes of Modern Acoustics student assistants: Eric Caselles, Hannah Eßler, Jonathan Haid, Yaroslav Koshelev, Lotte Schüßler, Alina Topf, and Fabian Voigtschild.
We greatly welcome contributions from scholars and practitioners in the history of acoustics. Please get in touch here.
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