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NIMBioS Seminar Series

In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in the 1st floor visitor breakroom beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

D. Blumstein photo.

Time/Date: Thursday, Janaury 17, 2013, 3:30 p.m.*
Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Dr. Dan Blumstein, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UCLA.
Presented in conjunction with the UTK Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.
Topic: The sound of fear: A journey from marmot meadows to Hollywood
Abstract: What is it that makes certain sounds scary? Why are screams particularly evocative? To explore this, I will discuss insights from over two decades of studying marmots - large, mostly-alpine, ground squirrels – that live throughout the northern hemisphere. I will talk both about the evolution and function of alarm calls, and end with a discussion of similarities among species, including humans, in the structure of fear screams and other scary and arousing sounds. I will discuss correlative and experimental studies on humans to evaluate the hypothesis that fearful and arousing sounds contain specific types of nonlinear acoustic phenomena, including noise. Finally, I review recent experimental work where by composing 'marmot-inspired music' we have determined that noise and other non-linear phenomena may be generally arousing and fear inducing. The sound of fear may indeed be noisy.

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m. in the 1st floor visitor breakroom.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

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For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

D. Blumstein.

1122 Volunteer Blvd., Suite 106
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
PH: (865) 974-9334
FAX: (865) 974-9300
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NIMBioS is supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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