Good Vibrations

Once upon a time, the astrophysicist began, more than 2 billion light years away and a million galaxies ago, a beautiful form arose out of swirling patterns of undulating harmonic notes. Had humans been present, perhaps they would have identified these sound waves as the earliest appearance of physics. Modern research surmises, however, that these early cosmic sound waves struck an opening chord and out of the tones came forth a wondrous creation—the first ever galaxy of stars. The astrophysicist Mark Whittle, was part of a seven-person panel on June 3 at “Good Vibrations: The Sound of Science,” a World Science Festival event in New York that was moderated by WNYC’s John Schaefer, the discussion also included biophysicist Christopher Shera, Neuroscientist Jamshed Bharucha, and composer Jacob Kirkegaard. Joseph Calambia writes on DiscoBlog, that Whittle described the early universe as “a pipe organ with pipes 400,000 light years across, and said that if we had actually been there to listen, we wouldn’t have heard anything, since the pitch was too low and the melody would have taken too long to sound. In fact, too long doesn’t mean much, since he says we would have died instantly.” When Whittle referred to this cosmic pipe organ I was reminded of the Giants Causeway on the Northern Ireland coast with its rock formation of pipe organs used by none other than that most famous Irish giant, Finn MacCool, himself, who got into a shouting match another giant, Benandonner. Yet during happier times there must have been some raucous music-making that rocked the entire island! Read Calambia’s entire blog at Discover

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