Now this is some cool stuff. Penn State is using auditory science to increase home field crowd noise. It brings a whole nother meaning to "home field advantage" when the opposing quarterback is facing a literal wall of noise brought on by a rowdy student body and some science.
Back in the 2007-2008 school year, a graduate student at Penn State used sound meters set up around the field to record the sound at various spots during games, and when each team had the ball. The noise in the stadium was 50 times as loud when Penn State was defending than when they were on the offense. It rose to 110 decibels when the opposing team had the ball, which "drown[ed] out the calls of the quarterback and ma[de] last-minute adjustments at the line of scrimmage very difficult."
The student then tested various seats in the stadium to find the loudest seats. Because of the stadium's architecture, there's an area at the end zones that is much louder than anywhere else, and that's where the team plans to seat the student body in 2011. As long as they stay quiet when their team's on that side of the field, and get rowdy when it's the opposite, they hope to cut "the range of a quarterback's voice by another six inches and potentially caus[e] more fal[se] starts and penalty opportunities."