Science and Society | The Sounds of Life


The natural world is filled with an endless variety of communication. A surprising array of species—including many insects, turtles, fish, corals, and plants—communicate by sound; even the planet itself is part of the chorus. Because most of these conversations take place outside humans’ narrow range of hearing, we have been unaware of the extent of this vast soundscape until recently. Now, scientists are using new digital technologies to eavesdrop on the natural world, and they are applying artificial intelligence to decode some of the auditory signals--perhaps paving the way for limited interspecies dialogues.

Join us for a Science and Society presentation by Karen Bakker, whose fascinating new book, The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology Is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Plants and Animals, explores these developments and discusses their potential not only to extend humanity’s relationship with nature but also to underscore the urgency of preserving biodiversity.

Karen Bakker is a Professor at the University of British Columbia, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She has a Ph.D. in global environmental change from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She has published more than 100 academic publications, which have been cited more than 17,000 times by other researchers, and she has been an advisor to numerous national and international organizations. She is currently writing a book on how digital technologies can help address issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water insecurity.

We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by clicking HERE. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate.

The library's “Science and Society - Making Sense of the World Around Us” lecture series is co-organized and moderated by Fred Dylla, Executive Director Emeritus of the American Institute of Physics and author of Scientific Journeys, Linda Dylla, former public information officer at the Jefferson Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy, and Colin Norman, the former News Editor at Science.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.

Event date: 
Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Event address: 
Lewes, DE 19958