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In this short from the Royal Institution, the materials scientist Anna Ploszajski combines her greatest passions – physics and music – in a highly entertaining demonstration of how her two areas of expertise are inherently interconnected. Blowing a trumpet into a device known as a Rubens tube, which visualises sound waves and pressure with flames, Ploszajski shows how, for all its complex engineering, her instrument of choice is, in essence, vibrations created with the mouth travelling through a tube. She further deconstructs the instrument by showing how blowing into concrete, ice and even jelly can generate a very similar effect. Ploszajski then ends her presentation with a brief history of the trumpet from ancient Egypt to today, showing how the instrument has evolved alongside contemporary technology, even as the physics of how it creates sound has remained very much the same.
Video by The Royal Institution
Producers: Freddie Rogers, Sarah Dick
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