Show Details

Offensive Chants

July 6, 2006

Scientists are developing new ways to keep sports fans from getting out of hand.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Suppressing sports chants. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[You’ll Never Walk Alone, sung by Liverpool fans]

HIRSHON:
No one would want to stop this English soccer team’s fans from singing their anthem—except maybe its rivals. But sometimes fans start offensive chants. That’s why acoustician Sander van Wijngaarden and his team at TNO in the Netherlands have been doing lab experiments on a new way to suppress chants. They play the chant back to the chanters, but delayed. In a stadium, it would sound like this:

[You’ll Never Walk Alone, delayed]

SANDER VAN WIJNGAARDEN (TNO, Netherlands):
And we studied whether it was indeed possible to confuse someone that way, and it turned out that indeed was possible—it is possible.

HIRSHON:
But while possible, Van Wijngaarden says making the technique practical for use in large stadiums will require more work. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.