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Sound experience close, but no cigar

Sound is a remarkable thing - even when the wine glass doesn't shatter. Moorhead State University Moorhead physics professor Ananda Shastri and three of his students demonstrated basic principles of sound Tuesday morning to sixth-graders at Moorh...

Sound is a remarkable thing - even when the wine glass doesn't shatter.

Moorhead State University Moorhead physics professor Ananda Shastri and three of his students demonstrated basic principles of sound Tuesday morning to sixth-graders at Moorhead's Horizon Middle School.

Horizon students have just begun a science unit on sound. The MSUM demonstration, which included tossing around a sound transmitter encased in a ball, sought to give students a better grasp of the subject.

The big finale planned for Tuesday was to shatter a wine glass with sound.

MSUM student Pam Jeppson carefully tapped the wine glass with a small mallet. Electronic equipment from MSUM measured the frequency, or number of vibrations, of the ting produced.

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"Cover your ears now," Shastri told the Horizon students.

Using more MSUM equipment, Jeppson played amplified sound that sought to duplicate the frequency of the wine glass ting.

If the exact frequency were played, the glass would shatter.

Horizon students, hands over ears, watched and waited.

Nothing happened.

"It's really touchy," Shastri explained.

Jeppson and fellow MSUM students Kelsey Carvell and Jayne Linstad tried three more times to identify and play the frequency that would shatter the glass.

No luck, though the glass vibrated a bit on the final try.

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Sixth-grader Mariah Smith watched the demonstration with great interest.

"I wish it would have (shattered), but I enjoyed this anyway," she said.

Science involves both success and failure, Jon Moe, Horizon sixth-grade science teacher, told the students.

"This is part of being a scientist," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

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