Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Acknowledgments

Roland Wittje

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pp. ix-x

Many have contributed to this book. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to mention every individual, and I apologize to those whom I have left out. This book project began more than ten years ago with a postdoctoral position at the Forum for the History of Knowledge at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). I would like to thank especially Anders Johnsson and the exhibition team of Etterklang: Vitenskap, musikk og massemedia i elektroakustikkens tidsalder (Reverberations: Science, music and mass media in the age of electroacoustics), an exhibition we put up at...

List of Figures

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pp. xi-xii

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1 Introduction: A History and Geography of Acoustics

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pp. 1-26

When I began my research on Johan Holtsmark’s acoustics laboratory at the Norwegian Institute of Technology more than fifteen years ago, I did not know what I would get myself into. I wondered, why would an accomplished physicist like Holtsmark engage in the research field of acoustics— apparently outdated by 1930—while building Scandinavia’s first particle accelerator? What unfolded was a fascinating story that has occupied me ever since. Although much has been published on the history of early particle accelerators, historians of science have written surprisingly little about...

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2 The Electrification of Sound: From High Culture to Electropolis

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pp. 27-66

The works of Hermann Helmholtz and John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, were the benchmark of acoustics research in the nineteenth century. Helmholtz and Rayleigh were masters of both mathematical analysis and experimental investigation. Helmholtz’s Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen als physiologische Grundlage für die Theorie der Musik of 1863 (translated in 1875 as On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music) and Rayleigh’s Theory of Sound (2 vols., 1877 and 1878) were widely read throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century...

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3 Science Goes to War: Warfare and the Industrialization of Acoustics

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pp. 67-114

World War I broke out on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It brought an end to the bourgeois and aristocratic world order of the Wilhelmine and Edwardian era. Though its main battles were carried out in Europe, World War I was a global war to the extent that it affected most of the world’s population, including many people in the colonies of the European imperial powers. The war dramatically changed the political, economic, and cultural landscape on the European continent, including the relationship between science, industry, and the military. The outcome...

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4 Between Science and Engineering, Academia and Industry: Acoustics in the Weimar Republic

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pp. 115-172

World War I had reconfigured acoustics as a scientific field. Wartime activities and practices were continued into peacetime institutions and projects. To find out what acoustics looked like in Germany during the interwar period, we take a look at two extensive handbooks of the time. Ferdinand Trendelenburg, physicist at Siemens Research Laboratories in Berlin, edited Akustik, which appeared as volume 8 of the Handbuch der Physik in 1927. In 1934, two volumes of Technische Akustik, edited by Erich Waetzmann, professor of physics at the Technische Hochschule Breslau, were published in...

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5 Acoustics Goes Back to War: Mass Mobilization and Remilitarization of Acoustics Research

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pp. 173-188

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg. This date marks the National Socialist Machtergreifung (seizure of power) and the end of the politically and economically unstable Weimar Republic. In this chapter, I explore the connections between acoustics, the attempt of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) to control various soundscapes, and its ideology and practices. What did the seizure of power by National Socialists (NS)...

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6 Conclusion: The New Acoustics

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pp. 189-214

What does the history of acoustics tell us about the discipline of physics and its transformations in the interwar period? What does it tell about its objects, its objectives, its practices, and its material and immaterial tools? As I argue in the introduction, the field of acoustics does not feature in our common understanding of “modern physics.”2 Technical acoustics and electroacoustics have been part of a tradition of applied, technical, and industrial physics that does not occupy a prominent place in existing...

Notes

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pp. 215-250

References

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pp. 251-282

Name Index

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pp. 283-288

Subject Index

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pp. 289-300