Listen. So that you touch…

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Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Our eyes, ears and skin are responsible for different senses. Moreover, our brain assigns these senses to different regions: the visual cortex, auditory cortex and somatosensory cortex. However, it is clear that there are anatomical connections between these different cortices such that brain activation to one sense can influence brain activation to another. A study by the laboratory of Associate Professor Shoji Komai at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan, seen in PLOS ONE, explains how auditory stimulation of the barrel cortex influences responses to tactile stimulation in mice and rats. Komai considered the barrel cortex a good model to see how sound can affect the perception of touch.

“We think our senses are distinct, but there are many studies that show multisensory responses, mainly through audio-visual interactions or audio-tactile interactions,” explains Komai.

His group found that mouse and rat neurons in the barrel cortex were unresponsive to light, but that a strong majority responded to sound. These neurons showed electrical responses to sound that could be categorized as regular spiking or fast spiking. Further, the barrel cortex appeared to treat tactile and auditory stimuli separately. “These responses indicate that tactile and auditory information is processed in parallel in the barrel cortex,” says Komai.

Additional analysis showed that the electrophysiological properties of the responses were different, with sound causing longer postsynaptic potentials with long latency, almost priming the animal to sense touch. This would be like the shuddering one does when hearing a loud boom. According to Komai, this reaction would be an evolutionary advantage for nocturnal animals such as rats and mice.

“In a nocturnal environment, sound may act as an alarm to detect prey or predators. The combination of auditory and tactile cues may yield an effective response. It will be interesting to learn how the same system is advantageous in humans,” he says. (1)

Listening. Tasting. Seeing. Touching. Smelling.

Distinct senses and yet so interconnected.

Interlinked.

But don’t be too dazzled by the light.

It usually hides the deepest shadows.

Senses do not let us sense the world as it is.

They help us break that world apart.

Every path in the dark forest of perception is connected with the others. And there is no way to tread one of them without crossing the others. The more you walk, the deeper you enter the forest. The more you walk, the more everything seems more familiar. The deeper you enter the forest, the more difficult to see the forest.

Tracing back your steps.

At the time when you started walking.

Remember…

As you entered that first path…

Well before the path had a name…

Did you see any paths?

Listen…

Quantum sounds.

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Photo by nicholas hatherly from Pexels

Quantum physics is on the brink of many technological breakthroughs. However, the main obstacle is finding the right way to couple and precisely control a sufficient number of quantum systems (e.g. individual atoms). A team of researchers from TU Wien and Harvard University has found a new way to manipulate the quantum universe via tiny mechanical vibrations.

“Normally, diamonds are made exclusively of carbon, but adding silicon atoms in certain places creates defects in the crystal lattice where quantum information can be stored”, says Professor Peter Rabl from TU Wien. These microscopic flaws in the crystal lattice can be used like a tiny switch that can be switched between a state of higher energy and a state of lower energy using microwaves.

Together with a team from Harvard University, Peter Rabl’s research group has developed a new idea to achieve the targeted coupling of quantum memories within the diamond. One by one they can be built into a tiny diamond rod measuring only a few micrometres in length. Then this rod can then be made to vibrate, however, these vibrations are so small that they can only be described using quantum theory. It is through these vibrations that the silicon atoms can form a quantum-mechanical link to each other. (1)

We are unique.

Simply by raising our voice.

Inside a silent cosmos.

And within that silence…

We become one with the universe.

Walking quietly inside the forest.

Being alone and yet full.

Inside a silent cosmos…

The leaves of the trees rustle…

Memories stored inside a diamond.

Eternal. Meaningless.

Stepping on the diamond.

Inside the dirt.

Open your mouth.

Trying to speak…

No sound coming out of your mouth…

The diamond shining more than ever within Earth’s bosom…

The sound of atoms… The sound of the universe…

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What does an atom sound like? Apparently it’s a “D-note”.

That’s according to scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, who have revealed in a new study that they’ve captured the sound of a single atom.

“We have opened a new door into the quantum world by talking and listening to atoms,” study co-author Per Delsing, a physics professor at the university, said in a written statement. “Our long term goal is to harness quantum physics so that we can benefit from its laws, for example in extremely fast computers.”

For their study, Delsing and his colleagues constructed an artificial atom 0.01 millimeters long and placed it on the end of a superconducting material. Then they guided sound waves along the surface of the material, bounced sound off of the atom, and recorded what came back using a tiny microphone located on the other end of the material. (1)

The whole universe is a symphonic orchestra.
The scientists got that right.
But we are not just listening.
We are part of that orchestra!

We are mathematicians.
Playing a tune as we formulate reality.
A sacred reality we are honoured to be part of.

Open your ears.

Listen to Pythagoras.

His silence echoing through the aeons…

More deafening than ever.

Caves, sound, silence…

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A prehistoric necropolis yields clues to the ancient use of sound and its effect on human brain activity.

Researchers detected the presence of a strong double resonance frequency at 70 Hz and 114 Hz inside a 5,000-years-old mortuary temple on the Mediterranean island of Malta. The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground complex created in the Neolithic (New Stone Age) period as a depository for bones and a shrine for ritual use. A chamber known as “The Oracle Room” has a fabled reputation for exceptional sound behavior.

During testing, a deep male voice tuned to these frequencies stimulated a resonance phenomenon throughout the hypogeum, creating bone-chilling effects. It was reported that sounds echoed for up to 8 seconds. Archaeologist Fernando Coimbra said that he felt the sound crossing his body at high speed, leaving a sensation of relaxation. When it was repeated, the sensation returned and he also had the illusion that the sound was reflected from his body to the ancient red ochre paintings on the walls. One can only imagine the experience in antiquity: standing in what must have been somewhat odorous dark and listening to ritual chant while low light flickered over the bones of one’s departed loved ones.

Sound in a Basso/Baritone range of 70 – 130 Hz vibrates in a certain way as a natural phenomenon of the environment in the Hypogeum, as it does in Newgrange passage tomb, megalithic cairns and any stone cavity of the right dimensions. At these resonance frequencies, even small periodic driving forces can produce large amplitude oscillations, because the system stores vibrational energy. Echoes bounce off the hard surfaces and compound before they fade. Laboratory testing indicates that exposure to these particular resonant frequencies can have a physical effect on human brain activity. (1)

Listen to the music. Listen to the silence. Listen to your self.

Our existence is a piece of music.

You know you like it. But you do not know why.

And like music, it is mostly defined by the small intervals of the absence of sound…

We are all notes on the same music score – being in sync with each other.

The old ones knew that…

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