The parabolic microphone uses a parabolic reflector to collect and focus sound waves onto a receiver, ensuring great directional sensitivity along the axis to which the reflector is directed. The microphone found initial application in sports and theater broadcasting, and later in eavesdropping and espionage during World War II. It also became a key instrument in the recording of animal vocalizations, and as such provided an important stimulus to the field of biological acoustics.
Son of a musician and a voice teacher, Pierre Schaeffer received a Catholic education, practiced theater as a boy scout, and learned to play the cello at the conservatory in Nancy. He chose to pursue engineering, gaining admission to the Polytechnique in 1929, where he continued his work in theater, followed by studies at the Supélec (top-ranked graduate school for electrical engineering).
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