The Cracked Bassoon

Sam Mathias

I'm a psychoacoustician. I mainly post code for making interesting sounds.

242 words ~3 minutes read

About me


I'm a UK-born scientist currently living in the US. I'm generally interested in just about all aspects of human perception, memory, and cognition, but my current research focusses on auditory short-term memory (example). I primarily do psychophysics.

I currently work for Yale School of Medicine. Before that, I worked in the BU Auditory Neuroscience Lab as a postdoc under the supervision of Barbara Shinn-Cunnigham. Before moving to Boston, I worked as a postdoc for Katharina von Kriegstein at the MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, where I completely failed to learn any German. I was a PhD student at the University of York, UK, under the supervision of Peter Bailey. I also briefly visited the University of Minnesota in the winter (!) of 2011/12 to work with Andrew Oxenham and Christophe Micheyl.

Originally I hail from Wigan, UK, a medium-sized town most notable for an inaccurately named wharf and the voracious consumption of meat pies by its inhabitants.

Why 'cracked bassoon'?

The name comes from an amusing description of iterated rippled noise, originally (I believe) appearing in a seminal PET study by Griffiths and colleagues. I don't have an example of a 'cracked' bassoon, but you can try comparing this example of IRN with this intact bassoon, and decide for yourself whether the description sounds like an accurate one.