What do radio reporters do? They record sounds. Sometimes, rather strange sounds.

Science being a beat particularly rich in audible oddities (ever heard a volcano scream or a tree sing?), we decided to pull together a few of our favorites from 2013. To be clear, these are sounds we here at KQED Science either recorded or used in stories we produced. (And, ok, some of them aren’t sounds so much as “moments” we liked.)

We’re not telling you much about them — you can click through to the stories to read and hear more.

#1 This male elephant seal in Ano Nuevo sounds like an old jalopy. That’s how the ladies like it.

#2 The times they are a changing, and, therefore, so are the foghorns.

#3 An epileptic seizure, translated into sound.

#4 Some might say it’s a bad idea to stick your microphone into a field of burning grass, but don’t tell that to Molly Samuel.

#5 Speaking of close calls… here’s that time Lauren Sommer got a little too close to her subject: a mountain lion in Santa Cruz.

#6  “Hi.” Just “hi.”

(In Morse code, as heard by a billion dollar NASA spacecraft bound for Jupiter.)

#7 Killer electrons: mysterious, satellite-trashing particles that travel at almost the speed of light. They get sped up by electromagnetic waves in the Earth’s radiation belts that “sound” like this.

#8 This recording of a blue whale – captured with an acoustic tag attached to the whale’s back – literally shook the studio when our engineer was mixing Lauren’s story.

#9 In the future, when people play their brains like musical instruments, here’s what it might sound like.

#10 When Scientists Get Excited… so do radio reporters.

Our Ten Favorite Science Sounds of 2013 28 December,2013Amy Standen


Amy Standen

Amy Standen (@amystanden) is co-host of #TheLeapPodcast (subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!) and host of KQED and PBSDigital Studios’ science video series, Deep Look.  Her science radio stories appear on KQED and NPR.

Email her at astanden@kqed.org

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