Noise in Sports Stadiums

Many American football teams play in closed stadiums which seat 60,000 or 80,000 people. Home teams encourage the fans to 'make noise' at important times in a game to try to affect the concentration and performance of an opposing team.

I personally don't encourage teams to try to win due to such external things, but it seems to me that there is a way that a team could cause even far louder effects. Maybe only a Physicist would think of this! But we know about how an Opera singer can sing a CONSTANT note which can create such Constructive Interference where a wineglass across the room can be inspired to self destruct.

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It might be important to somehow check ahead of time that this idea would not cause the windows of a stadium to blow out or the rafters of the roof to start vibrating and destroy the roof, but the idea I have would certainly work! Instead of simply displaying signs that say 'noise' for all the hometown fans to shout, what if the signs said 'middle B-flat' to encourage 80,000 people to simultaneously start humming the same musical note?

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Instead of RANDOM sounds of fans yelling, there could be a far LOUDER sound created, of that single musical note. WOULD such a sound make it more difficult for a team to hear their quarterback calling a play> Or for a field goal kicker to concentrate on making a good kick? I don't know. But the reality is that probably, the random noise from fans probably usually don't do that either!


This presentation was first placed on the Internet in April 2012.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago