The Whispering Gallery Is An Acoustic Oddity

The Whispering Gallery Is An Acoustic Oddity

Even in the bustling halls of Grand Central Terminal, you can hear a whisper across a room. This is possible because of the whispering gallery. Whispering galleries are architectural gems that exist both accidentally and intentionally all over the world. The domed ceilings make them work: one person can whisper into a corner, and the sound will travel up along the curve and down into the opposite corner, or other specified parts of the gallery depending on the shape of the ceiling. Another famous example of this acoustical oddity is St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Listen In On A Whispering Gallery

In the lower concourse of Grand Central Terminal, you can hear a whisper across the room.

Go Inside An Anechoic Chamber

Can silence drive you crazy? Find out what it's like inside an anechoic chamber, a room that absorbs echoes.

10:33

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    The foam wedges inside an anechoic chamber cause low-frequency sounds to bounce until they dissipate. (0:48)

  • 2

    People have reported claustrophobia, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, and even aural hallucinations inside anechoic chambers. (3:06)

  • 3

    See if you can hear the sounds of Veritasium's heartbeat in an anechoic chamber: (4:54)

The Science of Sound

How does sound travel, anyway? A short lesson in physics.

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Architecture

Sound

Islands

Space Exploration

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