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Discover Science at MIM

Signature Events

Event Details

Kick off the New Year by exploring “How Science Brings Music to Life” at MIM. This exciting new program will include a weekend of hands-on activities, workshops, demonstrations, talks and lectures, performances, and more―all focused on how science and technology affect the way music is made and heard.

Music and Science Gifts Available for Purchase
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
From the booming Thunder Tube and the lifelike croak of a wooden singing frog to the invisible sonic waves of the majestic theremin, the science of sound abounds at the Museum Store. Shop for a wide variety of instruments and books for all ages to learn more about how sound is created and experienced.

Chordophone Craft-Making Activity
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Guests will learn about the Hornbostel-Sachs instrument classification system, the same organological system used at MIM, and then build a stringed instrument, or chordophone, out of various recycled materials.  It could be a guitar, a banjo, a zither, or your very own unique creation! Volunteer team members will be on hand to assist.

MIM’s Science & Music Room
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Step into a room where science and sound collide. Engage in fun hands-on activities and get to know the acoustic world around you through sonic manipulation, demonstrations of wave patterns, and more.

Photo Booth
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Become a scientist for the day! Have your picture taken with fun musical and science-themed props at MIM’s custom photo booth, and instantly get your own copy to take home.

Rapid-Freeze Ice Cream Demonstrations
10:30–11:00 a.m. and 1:00–1:30 p.m.
Join Café Allegro executive chef Chris Lenza for an exciting demonstration of the science of making rapid-freeze ice cream! Chef Lenza will explain how the extremely cold temperature of liquid nitrogen allows scientists and foodies alike to freeze their experiments on the spot. Learn about this interesting process, and you may even get a little taste of the flash-frozen treat!
Ice cream samples are limited; first come, first served.

Science Talk: “STEM Brings Music to the World”
10:45–11:30 a.m. (Saturday only)
The applied sciences of the twentieth century made it possible, for the first time in human history, to amplify, disseminate, and archive musical performances in a truly global way. Join author and MIM volunteer team member Michael Perkins for an exciting talk about the scientific and technological breakthroughs that forever changed how we consume and appreciate music.

Performance: “Sonic Physiography” with Jeremy Muller
11:15 a.m.–noon
Explore music built on scientific and mathematical ideas in a performance that seamlessly blends live acoustic playing and digital music into a single, mesmerizing sonic experience. Percussionist, composer, and educator Jeremy Muller will perform several pieces that showcase the interface between science and music, such as an eco-acoustic work accompanied by recordings of the soundscape beneath the polar ice cap and a composition that uses ratios occurring in the natural harmonic series.

AZ Beat Lab Workshops
11:30 a.m.–noon, 12:15–12:45 p.m., and 1:30–2:00 p.m.
Come join music educator and percussionist Samuel Peña from AZ Beat Lab for a community music jam. This hands-on experience is a way for music lovers of all ages and levels of experience to get up close and personal with electronic instruments, drum pads, and world music instruments. During the drop-in workshops, guests will explore the ways in which creativity, collaboration, and music-making can build confidence and community.

Special “Science of Cooking” Menu Available for Purchase
11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Cooking is an art, but it is also a science! Enjoy lunch at Café Allegro and learn a little about the science of the senses with fun themed dishes like “Cooking with Acid” tuna ceviche and “Maillard Reaction” browned beef flank steak.

Demonstrations of MIM’s “Apollonia” Orchestrion
Noon and 3:00 p.m.
Stop by the Mechanical Music Gallery and experience MIM’s “Apollonia” Orchestrion dance organ. See this impressive mechanical musical instrument play music from all over the world and learn the science behind how it plays itself.

Octobasse Demonstrations
12:30, 1:30, and 3:15 p.m.
Don’t miss a chance to experience MIM’s octobasse played live by curator Colin Pearson. This rare—and exceptionally large—bowed string instrument is tuned two octaves lower than a cello, and its lowest note is at the unusually low frequency of sixteen hertz, below human hearing range! Played using a system of levers and pedals, the strings are so large that you can see the sound waves vibrate across them.

The Science of Sound: How Resonance Explains Cigar Box Guitars, Talking Goats, and the Human Voice
12:45–1:30 p.m.
What do cigar box guitars, talking goats, and the human voice have in common? Resonance. Resonance is the underlying feature that gives musical instruments their unique character and, in a complimentary way, provides our voice with the ability to produce the sounds of speech. Join Donald Finan, Ph.D., professor of audiology and speech-language sciences at the University of Northern Colorado, for an exploration of how cigar boxes can resonate like guitars; how the human mouth, throat, and nose resonate to produce speech and song; and what this has to do with talking goats. Dr. Finan is a speech scientist with a background that encompasses acoustics, speech physiology, neuroscience, and instrumentation. He is a member of the Dangerous Decibels® program faculty with specific expertise in the Jolene instrumented mannequin component.

Size, Shape, and Sound: Talking about Math and Musical Instruments
1:45–2:30 p.m.
Musical instruments all work on principles of vibration. Yet the sounds they make can be very different—what’s going on? Join Bruce Bayly, Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Arizona, as he utilizes a variety of sound-making devices to illustrate how the sound of a musical instrument is related to its size, shape, and other properties.

Technology to Enhance Your Music Listening and Save Your Ears
2:30–3:15 p.m.
Today, music travels with us wherever we go. Hundreds of earphone styles and types are available to meet the consumer demand. Listening in some environments requires the volume to be increased to ear damaging levels. Come explore how sound choices in technology, earphone design, and listening habits can enhance music fidelity and protect your hearing at the same time. Learn how to enjoy music for a lifetime.  This intriguing presentation will be given by Deanna Meinke, Ph.D., CCC-A, codirector of the Dangerous Decibels® program and an A.M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Professor in the audiology and speech-language sciences program at the University of Northern Colorado.

Performance: “Metal Music” with the B1 Duo
3:30–4:15 p.m.
The transforming experience of “metal music” takes audiences inside the sounds of metal objects. Dr. Garth Paine and Simone Mancuso morph large impenetrable metal objects into intimate, fragile, rich, and bold timbres, textures, and musical forms. As much about the bodily sensation of sound as the composed musical ideas, this performance presents a multifaceted experience of music and the science of resonance.

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