2019 Audio - Gold

Is time experienced differently by different animals? Are squirrels, tortoises and pesky flies literally living their lives at different speeds than us? Such questions were at the heart of “A Sense of Time,” a delightful look at the physiology of time perception by different species, with a dollop of philosophy thrown in for good measure. Research has shown that animals do experience life at different temporal resolutions, with humans seeing the world at 60 frames per second and some insect species seeing it at as fast as 400 frames per second. Such abilities allow birds to catch flies in flight, and flies to dodge being swatted with newspapers, presenter Geoff Marsh told his listeners. He explores the mind of a bat with neurobiologist Yossi Yovel in Israel and dissects birdsong at super-slow speeds with researchers at the University of Maryland. The speed of the broadcast audio was varied to help bring listeners into the experiences being described. Judge Janet Raloff, editor of “Science News for Students,” said the program “felt fast paced and interesting throughout. And I loved the use of sound — the bird song at different rates and the interviewer’s voice at different paces — to convey a sense of what was at issue.” Marsh and producer Rory Galloway, self-described “zoology nerds,” said the program resulted from their long-standing argument over whether a fly might experience time faster or slower than humans.  “Audio is the perfect tool to play with our experience of time, and to take us into the minds of different species,” they said. “Slowing down the calls of different species in the studio is mesmerizing, and we knew we had to uncover what these animals were hearing themselves.”