Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The music of what happens

My post yesterday -- with its evocation of whispers, patters, caws and sizzles -- might seem far removed from science. But the music of what happens is more than what is heard, and it is the beauty of science that it opens our inner ear to the music which is reality. It is interesting that the first person to think of the electron as a wave was Louis DeBroglie, who was a musician as well as a physicist. We now know that every atom is a kind of exquisitely tuned musical instrument, singing out its characteristic notes. The quantum-gravity theorists, with their vibrating strings and quantum loops, propose that the universe is made not of things but of oscillations. Here you one can view a quantum loop universe of one space and one time dimension doing its musical thing. The prospect is exhilarating that behind the world of our senses is this ceaseless Planck-scale fandango.