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Physics/Sound frequencies

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Question
Hi! A human ear can hear the frequencies between 20 and 20000 hertz. So does that mean that we can hear 19980 different types of sounds and all we hear is just a combination of those 19980 sounds?

Answer
It's not like that...Hertz is a unit based on seconds.  The sound frequency is a continuous spectrum and not cut into pieces.  We hear the spectrum, that's just how the human ear works. If our second were twice as long, we'd hear between 40 and 40,000 Hz.  Would be the same thing with a different unit, like a mile is still the same length even if you measure it in meters or feet.  The human unit choice doesn't change the physical length.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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