29 November 2011
As an 8-year-old boy in Denmark, Bruno Frohlich wanted to be a musician. He became a church organist’s assistant, yearning to create the haunting sound that poured from the instrument’s pipes.
But Frohlich soon became more interested in how the organ worked; the church organist arrived one morning to find his young pupil taking apart the instrument with a screwdriver and a hammer.
Frohlich, 64, and now a research anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History, is still fascinated with musical instruments—though he has found a less destructive way to study them. In his laboratory sits a massive CT scanner, which is normally used to create three-dimensional images of human tissue. Frohlich uses it to probe the anatomy of the world’s greatest violins, including those made by Antonio Stradivari between 1677 and 1727.
Read the rest at Smithsonian Magazine.