Dr Mark Lewney
FameLab winner 2005
Abstract: Rock Guitar in 11 dimensions: Strats, Strads &
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
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.