The Brilliance of a Stradivari Violin Might Rest Within Its Wood經典名琴動聽 關鍵可能在木材
In the violin-making world, two names reign above all others: Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri.
Both masters lived during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, in a small town in northern Italy called Cremona, and garnered a reputation for making the best stringed instruments in the world. Since then, luthiers have tirelessly tried to imitate Stradivari's and Guarneri's craftsmanship, copying their wood choice, geometry and construction methods. But their efforts have met with little success.
For hundreds of years, the best violin players have almost unanimously said they prefer a Stradivari or a Guarneri instrument.
Why nobody has been able to replicate that sound remains one of the most enduring mysteries of instrument building. A new study, published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that answers may lie in the wood: Mineral treatments, followed by centuries of aging and transformation from playing, might give these instruments unique tonal qualities.
"If you compare Stradivari's maple with modern, high-quality maple wood that is almost the same, the two woods are very different," said Hwan-Ching Tai, a professor of chemistry at National Taiwan University and an author of the paper.
In the study, done in collaboration with the Chimei Museum in Taiwan, Tai and his colleagues used five analytical techniques to assess wood shavings from two Stradivari violins, two Stradivari cellos and one Guarneri violin. Their measurements yielded several major findings.
First, they found evidence of chemical treatments containing aluminum, calcium, copper and other elements — a practice lost to later generations of violin makers.
Tai's team also found a property in the Stradivari violin samples but not the cellos: When they heated the wood shavings of the violins, they found an extra peak in oxidation, which implies a detachment between wood fibers.
This detachment, possibly the result of centuries of vibrations from playing, may give the instruments greater expressiveness, Tai said, adding, "Top violinists often feel like these old violins vibrate more freely, which allows them to express a wider set of emotions."
Tai hopes that decoding the secrets in the wood of Cremonese violins will help guide attempts to build replicas that can preserve the sounds of Stradivari and Guarneri, adding, "These instruments will not last forever."
craftsmanship是指手工藝品呈現出的精美質感，例如形容廟宇雕刻精美絕倫：the superb craftsmanship of the temple carvings。craft是手工藝，craftsman是工匠，從craft衍伸出一些單字如housecraft管理家務的技能、stagecraft編劇或演戲的才能、tradecraft諜報技術。
New Hotels Fill a Need As More Patients Travel for Care新旅館 滿足醫療旅行者需求
When out-of-town patients used to travel to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, some would find that their best option for staying close to the hospital for early-morning surgery involved a trip over the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey.
Enter the Edge Hotel, a 54-room property that opened in the fall of 2015 in Upper Manhattan, an area with few other lodgings.
As patients increasingly travel to and across the United States for medical treatment, developers are seizing on the benefits of situating hotels near major medical centers, many of which are in hotel-starved outskirts.
About eight miles from Times Square, the Edge has exceeded expectations, said Ari Sherizen, the operating partner of Edge Property Group, its developer. The hotel has had a steady occupancy rate of more than 80 percent since it opened a block and a half from the hospital, Sherizen said.
And NewYork-Presbyterian, which has ties to Columbia and Cornell Universities, has proved to be a valuable partner by referring people to stay there. About 90 percent of the Edge's customers have had ties to the hospital, including potential medical students, visiting professors and pharmaceutical sales representatives, Sherizen said.
The Edge, which cost $20 million to develop and is operated by Trust Hospitality, has had to meet challenges many hotels might never face. On a recent afternoon, when Sherizen was in the lobby waiting to meet a contractor, he observed a guest from the Midwest sobbing because her son had died, prompting a hug from the receptionist.
"Our staff has to be really attuned to what people are going through emotionally," he said.
While so-called medical tourists have been around for years, seeking out treatment at specialized hospitals far from their homes, their numbers have increased in recent years as baby boomers age, creating more customers.
"Medical procedures that used to require multiple stays are now being done in much less invasive ways, and they require a lot less recovery than they used to," said Daniel C. Peek, a senior managing director at HFF, a commercial real estate firm. "And if a recovering patient needs to go back just twice a week, it's probably better for the hospitals if they stay in a hotel."