Friday, July 30, 2010

"The Research Project"

"'This is not a good choice for a dissertation topic, Neil.' That's what my advisor told me when I presented it to him that fall afternoon those years ago. 'No one is doing this research. You'd have to build the project from the ground up. What about funding? Who in their right mind would fund such a thing? This is a mistake.'

"I refused to believe it. It was such an important question. Who wouldn't want to fund it? In this my advisor had been correct. The paucity of funding sources was frightening. I was almost finished before I began.

"I was saved by the generosity of Sir Albert William Grey. A true visionary, Sir Albert saw the value of my idea immediately. He was a kindred spirit, with ample resources to see the project through. Not only did he fund the project, he provided valuable expertise in the area of sonic resonance that I would have been unable to draw upon otherwise.

"Let me spend a moment telling you about the facility we used. Nothing in existence suited our needs. In order to reach the goal we had to completely redesign our laboratory space. We were forced to build from the ground up – or rather, from under the ground up. The subterranean vault was cavernous, more than a football field in length and width. The walls were specially designed to eliminate vibration. At the very center we located the lab itself.

"We took great pains to isolate the lab from outside influences – including electromagnetic interference. Electricity was a large no-no. Have you ever tried to minimize electromagnetic signature while operating standard laboratory equipment? It can't be done. All of our instruments were redesigned. Where power was unavoidable, everything was meticulously shielded. The internal testing room of the lab was a marvel of sound proofing technology. State of the art materials and strategies were incorporated, including several of Sir Albert's own design that are currently under patent review. You can see the configurations we used in these photos.

"The most revolutionary part of the design was the nested baffling shown here in slide five. The two panels are divided by absorption plates which channel the vibrations out via this gel filled polystyrene pipe. It's really quite ingenious, and I would be happy to entertain questions about it later in the presentation, but for now, it's time I share with you the results of our experiment.

"After five years and seventy million dollars of research, Sir Albert and I are proud to share our primary finding."

A large photo filled the screen in the auditorium. The vast majority of the picture was black, but there in the very center was a slight rosy glow.

"Ladies and gentlemen, silence is not, in fact, golden. It is pink."