Video:The Physicists guide to violin making 

Bill Atwood merges physics and art in his violin workshop

By Kerry Klein

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When he’s not in front of a computer at the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics, or speculating how close he came to a Nobel Prize for developing the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, Bill Atwood is fiddling.

Or sanding, or gluing.

He’s outfitted the shed in his backyard, deep in the redwoods outside Santa Cruz, into a violin workshop, complete with piles of spruce and maple, hanging racks of ebony, and drawers full of pegs and peculiar-looking tools. He may model his instruments after the acclaimed works of Stradivari and Guarneri, but he makes sure to apply a heavy dose of science, too. And his latest creation always gets broken in during a jam session with his Santa Cruz physicist quartet.

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Kerry Klein is a reporter with Valley Public Radio in Fresno, California. A geologist by training, she chipped away at the mining and geothermal energy industries before attending the Science Communication program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared on KQED, the San Jose Mercury News, the Salinas Californian and The Atlantic, on topics ranging from drought and agriculture to space and roadkill.

You can follow Kerry on Twitter @einekleinekerry.


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