Discord : the story of noise / Mike Goldsmith.

by Goldsmith, Mike, 1962-Looking glass.

Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, [2012]Description: xiv, 317 pages : illustrations 23 cm.ISBN: 0199600686; 9780199600687.Other title: Story of noise.Subject(s): NoiseLooking glass | SoundLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 281-302) and index. Alternative form: Electronic version: 9780191633812
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Short loan Central Saint Martins
Main collection
Printed books 534 GOL (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54189000
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 534 GOL (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54163260
Total reservations: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Noise is a widely recognized problem and health concern in the modern world. Given the importance of managing noise levels and developing suitable "soundscapes" in contexts such as industry, schools, or public spaces, this is an area of active research for acousticians. But noise, in the senseof dissonance, can also be used positively; composers have employed it from Baroque music to Rock feedback; medicine harnesses it to shatter kidney stones and treat cancer; and even the military uses it in (real and rumoured) weapons.Mike Goldsmith looks back at the long history of the battle between people and noise - a battle that has changed our lives and moulded our societies. He investigates how increasing noise levels relate to human progress, from the clatter of wheels on cobbles to the sound of heavy machinery; heexplains how our scientific understanding of sound and hearing has developed; and he looks at noise in nature, including the remarkable ways in which some animals, such as shrimps, use noise as a weapon or to catch prey. He concludes by turning to the future, discussing the noise sources which arelikely to dominate it and the ways in which new science and new ideas may change the way our future will sound.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 281-302) and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • List of Figures (p. xi)
  • Abbreviations (p. xiii)
  • Introduction (p. 1)
  • 1 The Nature of Noise (p. 5)
  • 2 A Silent Bang (p. 13)
  • 3 Classical Noise (p. 27)
  • 4 New Noise (p. 42)
  • 5 A New Science of Sound (p. 52)
  • 6 Noise in the Eighteenth Century (p. 69)
  • 7 Machineries of Noise (p. 83)
  • 8 The First Champions of Silence (p. 111)
  • 9 The Noise Century (p. 135)
  • 10 Noise in Wartime (p. 151)
  • 11 A Time of Peace? (p. 158)
  • 12 A Different Kind of War (p. 181)
  • 13 A New Beginning? (p. 188)
  • 14 The Power of Science (p. 196)
  • 15 A New Pollution (p. 222)
  • 16 Noise Now (p. 237)
  • 17 A Quieter Tomorrow? (p. 268)
  • Notes (p. 281)
  • Index (p. 303)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

From the moment the alarm clock sounds until our heads hit the pillow again at night, noise assaults our ears. Yet, as British acoustic scientist Goldsmith reminds us in this sometimes harmonious and occasionally dissonant history, noise has been a part of human society, especially urban society, since ancient Mesopotamia. As society has evolved, the level of noise has grown, accompanying industrial and technological development: the building and operation of factories, railroads, cars, and airplanes. Goldsmith reminds us that both unproductive noises (a neighbor's late-night party) and annoying noises (the garbage truck at 3 a.m.) fill our world. So does productive noise--Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which introduced listeners to new sounds (which some listeners still considered noise). Goldsmith concludes unremarkably that even though we'll always have noise with us, we can have a quieter future if we work together by using the technology of noise reduction and establishing noise-control regulations 20 illus. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


This lively history of the Earth's changing soundscapes focuses on the origins of dissonance and noise and their effects on society and culture from antiquity to the present. Goldsmith (formerly, National Physical Laboratory, UK), a free-lance science writer with expertise in acoustical research, explains the nature of noise and human hearing; the universe's silent origins, known ironically as the big bang; and the noises of the classical world and natural phenomena like earthquakes. He then traces the rise of the science of sound, the growth of urban noise and its impact on culture, and the proliferation of "machineries" of industry and warfare, from the steam engine to the Thunder Generator, and their effect on human health. Noting noise's impact on human and other life forms, the author concludes by describing efforts to create a quieter future through engineering. This is both monograph and survey, making extensive use of primary documents and well-chosen quotes and current secondary literature on the history of noise and scientific research on its environmental impact. Factually dense but engagingly written, with a good selection of graphs and illustrations, the book is accessible to laypersons, but it will also interest advanced students and scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general audiences. S. Schmidt Horning St. John's University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Dr Mike Goldsmith has a PhD in astrophysics from Keele University, awarded for research into variable supergiant stars and cosmic dust formation. From 1987 until 2007 he worked in the Acoustics Group at the UK's National Physical Laboratory and was Head of the group for many years. His work there included research into automatic speech recognition, human speech patterns, environmental noise, and novel microphones. He continues to work with NPL on a freelance basisand has recently lead a three-year project to develop a new type of environmental noise mapping system. He has published over 40 scientific papers and technical reports, and since 1999, he has written over 30 science books for readers from babies to adults. Two of his books have been short-listed forthe Aventis prize (now the Royal Society prize) for science books.

Other editions of this work

No cover image available Discord by Goldsmith, Mike, ©2012