Turtle Chirps, Volcanic Whistles

Anathasius Kircher, a 17th-century German Jesuit priest and scholar, had interests ranging from fossils to hieroglyphics to micro-organisms and volcanoes, was above all a master of expressing wonder at the natural world. He proposed, among many other things, the idea of a parabolic horn, an amplification system for sound waves. In the illustration below, the…

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