Four University of Northern Iowa senior chemistry students will fly aboard a special N-A-S-A plane that simulates weightlessness this summer to conduct some musical research. Chemistry professor Curtiss Hanson teaches the students, who he says will conduct experiments on the tones create by the way the wood is put together in violins. He says one of the things talked about in the tone quality of an instrument like a violin is not just the tone it produces, but the richer tones caused by the coupling of the vibrational modes within the instrument. Hanson says the manufacturers of violins look for the right tones by taping the various pieces with their hands. He says they create violins through experience and intuition — but his students hope to use some modern equipment to do spectral analysis to allow someone to build violin plates and measure the tone with the modern equipment. Hanson says the students are excited about the opportunity to visit Houston and conduct the experiments. He says they’re the ones who have worked “exceedingly hard” to get the work done prior to going to Houston. The students will leave to conduct the experiments this summer. The students involved are: Timothy Schramm of Dyersville; Benjamin Baird of Denver; Ketherin McKenna of Vinton and Jaime Peasall of Davenport.
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