Sound patterns

June 6, 2013 | By | 4 Replies More

Beware the gut feeling that like begets like and that we should thus be able to anticipate effects patternfrom their causes. This leads far too many of us to doubt that sentience can emerge from primal goo. Those of us (like me) who are enthralled by complexity know that like begets like is far too often untrue.  I’ve constantly seen that nature creates elaborate macro patterns using only a dynamic process involving far-too-simple component parts. With that background, take a look at these sand patterns generated by nothing but sound waves. I knew what was coming and I still felt chills when the patterns emerged. There is a deep lesson in these shallow grains of sand.

Here’s a web page with further explanation.


Category: Complexity, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Chladni plates are great!

    I spent a fair amount of time constructing the classic ones that you exite with a violin bow. At some point I had a clamp to fixate round, square and random shape glass plates in any position. The sand patterns varied wildly.
    I also made a fluid Chladni plate by mounting a large glass bowl on a lab stand and filling it with denatured alcohol, the blue kind. When exiting the rim of the bowl transversally with the violin bow, the alcohol surface would erupt with tiny clear drops that would float to the quiet regions on the blue surface, forming a beautiful four pointed star at the ground frequency. When exited transversally with a frequency generator and motor, I could make all kinds of spectacularly beautiful stars!
    Because of all the alcohol vapour, this was also a highly dangerous experiment :-/

  2. I see I can’t include a URL in the body text apparently. Search for “Chladni plates” to get to all sorts of info on them and video’s.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Planetary Paul – thanks for the tip. I can’t get over the beauty of these patterns, and the powerful demonstration of emergence.

  4. Full version of the movie:

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