Saturday, May 25, 2013
The Origin of Sound
Silence. Big Bang. Inside the newborn universe, no ears exist to hear the blast. Billions of years churn without sound. Stars coalesce, supernova, and collapse into points of density so infinite that nothing can escape. Around a star orbits a planet. Under quintillions of gallons of water, the crust fractures and life arises in the magma heat. Aeons of natural selection lead to sound-reception cells. A single tone subdivides into uncountable sounds—harsh and soothing, high-pitched and low-, volcanic eruptions and drizzling rain. Millions more years pass before human voices sing. Plastic sound divides into word and image, lyric and gasp.