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Dr Mark Lewney
FameLab winner 2005

Abstract:  Rock Guitar in 11 dimensions: Strats, Strads & Superstrings

What causes the revolutionary, history-changing sound of rock guitar and how does it help us to understand the nature of the stuff we're made of?  FameLab winner Mark Lewney explains the physics of rock using riffs from Vivaldi to AC/DC, explains the secret of the Stradivarius and shows how string vibrations might lie at the heart of the big questions about the universe.

In this entertaining and mind-expanding lecture, acoustics expert Dr Mark Lewney explains the physics of vibrations with the help of props as diverse as an air-bazooka, a bullwhip and his custom Ibanez electric guitar, through a 100W Marshall amp, turned up loud, with live demonstrations of expert rock guitar playing throughout.  Dr Lewney will then show how the vibrations of guitar strings might be applied to the particles we're all made of, but with a twist: the strings vibrate in extra dimensions.  Charming stories and mind-bending animations are used to try to get the audience to think in 4, 5 or even 11D.  This introduction to Superstring Theory shares the wonder and excitement of such grand scale, cutting edge physics.

Dr Mark Lewney has a PhD in guitar acoustics from Cardiff University and now deals with new inventions in telecomms at the UK Patent Office in Newport.  At the 2005 Cheltenham Science Festival, he was the first winner of FameLab, a national competition to find the new faces of science communications, with a talk on the physics of rock guitar, which acclaimed science writer Simon Singh described as "gobsmackingly amazing".

Mark has appeared on Radio 4's Material World as a guitar expert, on a British Council DVD called Beautiful Physics, which was distributed worldwide, and on CBBC's Xchange! as the "Rock Director", being introduced as a cross between Einstein and Jimi Hendrix.

He has recently filmed a Three Minute Wonder for Channel 4, again on guitar physics, which was broadcast during 2006.


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