Professor Ville Pulkki awarded for amusing and imaginative research
The Zhejiang Science and Technology Museum in China annually awards the Pineapple Science Award for research considered entertaining, amusing or imaginative. The purpose of the awards is to inspire young people to engage in scientific inquiry.
In the award ceremony on Saturday, 11th November, Professor Ville Pulkki was honoured in the physics category. Pulkki works at the Department of Information and Communications Technology in the School of Electrical Engineering at Aalto University. His research group explores communication acoustics, including the capturing, transmission, reproduction, synthesis, and perception of sound.
In the awarded research by Pulkki and his fellow researchers, they explored why shouting into the wind feels challenging for people, even though sound actually carries better within the first 100 metres upwind. The surprising but straightforward result of the research was that it isn’t harder to shout into the wind; it’s just harder to hear yourself. When someone shouts upwind, their ears are situated downwind from their mouth, which means that their ears receive less sound – it’s harder from them to hear their shout than when there’s no wind.
The awards aim to highlight the importance of curiosity, in addition to amusingness and inspiration. Curiosity served as the initial motivation for Pulkki to delve into the topic. He sees curiosity as a crucial trait for himself as a researcher.
'My curiosity usually awakens more strongly if I find something that has not been discovered or explained before. When curiosity awakens, the matter stays in my mind, and I start to gather information on it. Through this process, the matter delves deeper into some thought processes, and often, some unconscious mental processes then assist in problem-solving,' Pulkki explains.
Professor Ville Pulkki
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The Aalto Acoustics Lab is a multidisciplinary research center focusing on audio processing and spatial sound technologies. The laboratory gathers professors and research teams from three different units: Department of Information and Communications Engineering, Department of Computer Science, and Department of Art and Media.
The department of Information and Communications Engineering has a strong focus in the ICT area varying from ICT technology to core electrical engineering and its basic phenomena.