COMMUNICATION REVOLUTION. Scientist masters talking underwater.


A Swedish scientist has proved that humans can communicate underwater and can even be heard clearly above the surface.

The breakthrough technique – the culmination of 7 years research by Professor Alva Jonsson, Head of Linguistics at Lund University – has stunned the scientific community.

Professor Jonsson delivered a perfectly audible monologue while completely submerged, 50 metres away from colleagues and sceptical media at a public swimming pool in Stockholm.

Using her own voice – and without the aid of any external devices – Professor Jonsson employed a technique that mimics how whales manipulate their larynx to produce sounds.

The demonstration has been described as a moment in communication history rivalling the legendary first telephone message by Alexander Graeme Bell in 1876.

On that occasion Bell summoned his assistant from the next room with the words; “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

Professor Jonsson was less prosaic.

She chose to quote from fellow countryman and Nobel Laureate Tomas Transtromer’s poem, “Under Pressure”:

“The blue sky’s engine-drone is deafening.
We’re living here on a shuddering work-site
where the ocean depths can suddenly open up
shells and telephones hiss.
You can see beauty only from the side, hastily.
The dense grain on the field, many colours in a yellow stream.
The restless shadows in my head are drawn there.
They want to creep into the grain and turn to gold.
Darkness falls. At midnight I go to bed.
The smaller boat puts out from the larger boat.
You are alone on the water.
Society’s dark hull drifts further and further away.”

Professor Jonsson says she chose the late poet’s work because at the age of 59 Transtromer had suffered a stroke that severely curtailed his ability to speak.

“And yet, he wrote the most exquisite words,” Professor Jonsson says.

“It seemed fitting. I hope he would approve.”

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