School of Cymatics

The World's First School of Cymatics

A few months ago John Stuart Reid of was asked by Deborah Stokes, curator for education at the Smithsonian Institute, if it would be possible to cymatically image some 'songs of stars' for their new African Cosmos Stellar Arts Exhibition which runs through to December 9th 2012. 

John told the School of Cymatics he was delighted to have been asked.

He said, "This is an important milestone for the CymaScope and for cymatics in general. It will help cymatics gain acceptance in the world as a useful scientific technique. The atomic processes within the atomic furnace of stars create sounds as a result of the high-energy collisions between atomic particles. These sounds cause the starlight to vary minutely, tiny modulations that can be detected by sensitive instrumentation, then demodulated, recreating the original sounds in the laboratory. Analysis of the star sounds can help asteroseismologists gain a better understanding of the atomic processes with a given star."

The star sounds were processed by the following scientists:

Star: RR Lyrae
Dr Elisabeth Guggenberger, University of Vienna, Austria

Star: Chi Hydrae
Dr Conny Aerts and team, University of Leuven, Belgium.
Sound file created by: European Southern Observatory.

Star: PG1159+035
Michael Breger, Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, USA.

Star: Sun
Dr Guenter Houdek and Dr Douglas Gough, University of Vienna, Austria.

The star sound files were fed into a CymaScope, which makes the periodicities in the star sounds visible by imprinting them on the surface of ultra pure water, transcribing the sound periodicities to periodic wavelets, effectively rendering the sounds visible. 

The CymaScope imagery was captured on-camera and sent to James Stuart Reid, John's son, who provided colorization and titles. 

The completed videos were then sent to the Smithsonian where Michael Briggs used them to create the "Star Station," a booth where visitors can experience the stars-sounds-made-visible for the first time. Initial visitor reaction to the Star Station has been very positive and children, in particular, love it. Inspiring children to explore the field of cymatics is an important part of the ethos of and the School of Cymatics.

The four star-sounds-made-visible videos can be viewed on the CymaScope web site by clicking here

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