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Leicester 2002 Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
CD-Rom's ice cool music
AW, Bas
Antarctic Waves is a tool for making music

Schoolchildren can now make cool music - about the Antarctic.

Polar researchers have collaborated with artists and designers to produce a CD-Rom that allows kids to investigate the science of the White Continent whilst at the same time experiment with sound.

It has taken the British Antarctic Survey (Bas), the Philharmonia Orchestra and the multimedia arts company Braunarts two years to put the software tools together.

"We have digitised the sights and sounds of this fantastic place so children can make music as they learn the science," said Braunarts director Terry Braun.

The disc, which goes by the title Antarctic Waves, works on both PCs and Macs and will be made available for free to every secondary school in the UK that teaches GSCE or A-level music.

It was launched at the British Association's science festival in Leicester.

Navigating through the CD-Rom, a child can explore five different branches of Antarctic research: ocean life, glaciers, astronomy, albatrosses and a strange phenomenon called whistlers, which are faint echoes of Northern Hemisphere thunderstorms.

AW, Bas
It's also a tool to learn about polar science
The software ties into a special website at www.antarcticwaves.com.

Real data collected by polar scientists, such as underwater audio recordings, have been digitised to produce a set of component notes that can be arranged by children into a fantastic array of musical styles.

Linda Capper, from Bas, told the BBC: "We get hundreds of e-mails from kids everyday doing projects on Antarctica and we are always trying to find new ways to reach children who aren't doing just science or geography.

"Music is one way we can really engage children. I hope the children who use this disc will get an introduction to the importance of Antarctica.

"I don't expect music students to suddenly go into mainstream science education, but if they can be introduced at an early stage to the excitement of Antarctic research - we'd be really pleased with that."

The production has been funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Black
"This is science education as you've never heard it before"
Composer Glyn Evans
"This project blurs a lot of edges"
BA science festival at Leicester University.

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13 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
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