Strange Sound Phenomenon: The Whispering Gallery at ST. Paul’s Cathedral in London

More than 100 years ago, a British scientist found that two people standing on opposite ends of the dome could hear each other when whispering into the wall.

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Strange acoustic phenomenon: The whispering gallery at London’s St. Paul Cathedral. Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dome_of_st_pauls.jpg

The Whispering Gallery is one of the most special spots in London. From the gallery there are wonderful views up to the dome and down to the floor of the cathedral, but it’s the ‘whispering wall’ that is so unique.

In the walkway that circles the inside of Christopher Wren’s great dome, whispered words can be heard clearly directly across 137 feet.
This acoustic phenomenon, called the “whispering wall”, is an artifact of the perfect curved shape of the dome, from which the sound basically can’t get obstructed. Based on this feature, Harvard University scientists started studying microlasers in 2010.

The Whispering Gallery is one of three galleries accessible in the cathedral. It is located at the top of 259 steps, 99 feet above the floor of the cathedral, which is decorated with a compass rose. It was built in 1710.

Another “whispering wall” is found in Australia.

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