Acoustic biologist, founder of the Elephant Listening Project, and whale song expert Katy Payne received a BA from Cornell in music and biology in 1959. Since then her professional work and contributions have all stemmed from original discoveries at the intersection of these fields. Humpback whales sing long songs that change extensively, progressively, and rapidly with time—an example of non-human cultural evolution with endlessly fascinating details. Katy's discovery of song-changing led to 15 years of recording and examining whale songs from the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and many mysteries are still unresolved. Her research changed direction in 1984 with the discovery that elephants make powerful, low-frequency calls, some of which are infrasonic and travel long distances. That finding led to two decades of field work in Africa focused on elephants' acoustic communication during which Payne produced two books, Elephants Calling for Children and Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants (Simon & Schuster, 1998). In 2004, Katy founded the Elephant Listening Project in the Bioacoustics Research Program in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for purposes of research and conservation.
* * * * *
Part of Music, Language, Mind, Evolution, a series of free Monday/Wednesday evening lectures with eminent scholars from a variety of disciplines — music, music cognition, biology, and language — exploring the fundamentals of why and how we make and hear music. Part of the course Music 007 taught by Professor Larry Polansky.
The public is cordially invited.
Admission is free.
More information at (831) 459-4731.
Sponsored by the UCSC Arts Division, Arts Dean's Fund for Excellence, and US Bank.