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Listening To the Big Bang – In High Fidelity

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the big-bang-music dept.

Space 85

First time accepted submitter vinces99 writes "A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago. Now, armed with more sophisticated data from a satellite mission observing the cosmic microwave background – a faint glow in the universe that acts as sort of a fossilized fingerprint of the Big Bang – Cramer has produced new recordings that fill in higher frequencies to create a fuller and richer sound."

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thanks, guys... (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43366887)

...you didn't warn me, now my ears are bleeding.

Re:thanks, guys... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43366915)

That's the insanity. When thou'ist hears the flatulence of the Lord, thy mortal brain cannot fathom HIs Greatness.

Big Banng (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43366997)

What else did you expect?

Re:Big Banng (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367115)

Honestly? The Dolby THX sound was the first thing I thought of.

Disney now owns the Universe b/c of you. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367173)

Honestly? The Dolby THX sound was the first thing I thought of.

Oh Great! Well, Disney bought LucasArts which owned THX, so now Disney is going to claim Copyright ownership of the Universe!

And you - YOU - had to post your comment giving them prior art or something!

Great! Just great!

Re:Big Banng (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367415)

Sweep generator is what I thought of.

Re:Big Banng (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367165)

expected harmony of the spheres, got acoustic goatse

As the universe cooled and expanded, it stretched the wavelengths to create “more of a bass instrument,” Cramer said. The sound gets lower as the wavelengths are stretched farther, and at first it gets louder but then gradually fades.

Bang was too big, it passed out

Re:thanks, guys... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367117)

And what part of "Big Bang in High Fidelity" did you not understand?

Re:thanks, guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367441)

yeah, just like the tards over at reddit, bitching about how missing NSFW tags are getting them fired. did you click a link on the internet ? dont be at work and keep the volume down. how fucking hard is it.

Ummmm (4, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43366895)

I hate that Sheldon guy, who the hell wants to hear his voice better?

Re:Ummmm (1)

Dabido (802599) | about a year and a half ago | (#43384509)

Wil Wheaton ... is that you???

Volume-less audio player (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43366919)

Just what I needed this morning, some random loud sound WITH NO OBVIOUS VOLUME CONTROL ON THE DAMN PAGE. Seriously, how hard can it be to include a volume control?

Re:Volume-less audio player (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367061)

Seriously? Do you not have a volume knob on your speakers,or on your OS?

You know, Even windows 95 had a volume control. I can't think of a single machine capable of rendering the web audio that does not have volume control (software or hardware). Use it! Not everything has to be spoon fed on the web page for you.

Re:Volume-less audio player (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367567)

Just what I needed this morning, some random loud sound WITH NO OBVIOUS VOLUME CONTROL ON THE DAMN PAGE. Seriously, how hard can it be to include a volume control?

Ahh, the sound of the universe being born, in the morning...

If you were present... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43366945)

at the time of the big bang, would there have been anything to hear? Technically, was there any sound?

Re:If you were present... (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | about a year and a half ago | (#43377749)

"If a big bang happens in a forest, and no one is around..."

All together now... (3, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | about a year and a half ago | (#43366967)

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state, Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started Wait....

Re:All together now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43366995)

Then tell me this: If Sheldon is such a big Firefly fan, why did he not recognize River Tam on the train?

Re:All together now... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367031)

um... he did, he bats for the other team?

Re:All together now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367627)

Firefly is on Netflix...

Re:All together now... (1)

Jerslan (1088525) | about a year and a half ago | (#43372437)

He was too obsessed with forgetting his flash drive with the research he wanted to show to that one physicist.

paid for a pip squeek ? (1)

axonis (640949) | about a year and a half ago | (#43366989)

Tasty over tones hear

Re:paid for a pip squeek ? (2)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367057)

They will definitely be backing tracks to some future recordings of mine.
Nice of them to open the permissions.

Volume (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367067)

Turn it up to 11 for authentic experience.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367089)

Sheldon in DTS is annoying enough...

But... (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367095)

what if you play it backwards??

Re:But... (1)

HybridST (894157) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367637)

Your speakers implode!

Re:But... (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367663)

what if you play it backwards??

That's the sound of The Big Crunch.

Re:But... (1)

bedouin (248624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43371803)

The world ends. Reversing the waveform as I type this to ensure that happens soon.

Re:But... (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year and a half ago | (#43372639)

You get the BBC's "Bang Goes the Theory".

Also a good show.

Can't be worse than (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367129)

that obnoxious theme song. It's so cheesy and unnerdy. I edited it out of all episodes so I will never hit fast forward too late.

Now the question (0)

globalist (1332141) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367137)

If a Big Bang bangs alone in the universe, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Re:Now the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367327)

Define sound.

Re:Now the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367395)

If a Big Bang bangs alone in the universe, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The "bang" is a misnomer. There was no air to carry sound, so in effect, it would have been silent.

Re:Now the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43368711)

Protip: sound also propagates in other materials than sound.

You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43371543)

If you mean that sound propagates in other media than air, you're right. But, remember that in those early stages of the universe there was not an abundance of materials for sounds to propagate through. At best there was a plasma, and even that isn't guaranteed by most theories.

So, in all, sound is a definite no-no, for the early universe.

Then again, there wasn't anyone to listen to it anyway so the whole argument reduces to the "if a tree falls in the forest" conundrum.

Re:You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43372287)

At best there was a plasma, and even that isn't guaranteed by most theories.

So, in all, sound is a definite no-no, for the early universe.

So if there is a chance it was filled with plasma, how is a definite no-no? Considering space is still filled with plasma, and is still capable of sound propagation, doesn't seem out of the question when things were denser. The question would be more about what frequencies are practical for propagation, as a lack of material acts like a low pass filter for waves that have a wavelength smaller than mean free path, and if those practical wavelengths would fit within the system of concern (i.e. the universe).

Considering at about the time of the CMB, the observable universe was about thousand times smaller in linear dimensions than it is now, the average density would be about a billion times higher. This puts it around ~100-1000 protons per cubic centimeter, comparable to the area around our magnetosphere, where there are observations of acoustic waves at similar temperatures.

Also, I'm not sure what theories actual don't say there was plasma about then, considering the idea behind the CMB being a frozen image of the time was that light couldn't propagate through the plasma that existed until recombination neutralized enough of the plasma to allow free propagation of EM waves. So I don't know what you mean by that not being guaranteed by "most theories."

You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43372587)

Parent poster here.

You are right. My post was hastily made.

If there was a plasma after the Big Bang there were most certainly sound waves to be detected (if anyone was around to actually care). What you correctly point out is that the frequencies involved are low-pass filtered. Once they are below audible frequencies, are we still considered to think of them as 'audio'? I'm not so sure, but that's merely a gut feeling. Do we think of earthquakes as audio? Why, or why not?

Also, my point about plasma was a bit rash. Of course there would be a plasma when energy is reduced to the level that matter could actually exist at all, the Big Bang being quite energetic after all. But at those densities, I don't know if plasma is the correct term. Maybe it is, and I would happily be educated on this point.

So, in summary, I'm happy with your clarification. You are right in any and all points you bring. Thanks for expanding on the topic, it is all very interesting.

Re:You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43373955)

Once they are below audible frequencies, are we still considered to think of them as 'audio'? I'm not so sure, but that's merely a gut feeling. Do we think of earthquakes as audio? Why, or why not?

I don't know if they would be called "audio" but in many circles the terms sound and acoustic are used to apply to any form of compressional wave. They still get called sound outside of hearing range (e.g. infrasound and ultrasound), and other media like solids.

And on that note, parts of earthquakes are compressional waves, although there are several different seismic waves involved in earthquakes. The fastest kind of wave, the P-waves that get to you first, are compressional waves just like any other sound in a solid. The slower S-waves are a shear wave that is different though, especially noticeable in that P-waves, like sound, can go through a fluid while S-waves do not. That difference is important because the P-waves can go through the liquid outer core of the Earth, but S-waves have to go around it. And there are a couple other varieties of waves associated with earthquakes.

And I don't know of any lower bound on the density and it still being a plasma. All that matters is it is ionized to some significant degree. Although you probably need some small number of particles to make meaningful use of plasma physics, but that doesn't take much.

Re:Now the question (1)

hazah (807503) | about a year and a half ago | (#43370839)

Quark-Gluon Plasma was the medium.

Re:Now the question (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367763)

How many bigs could a Big Bang bang, if a Big Bang could bang bigs?

Recordings? (3, Insightful)

opusman (33143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367163)

Are you sure that's the right term? Somehow I doubt it's actually a recording :)

Re:Recordings? (2)

AlecC (512609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367493)

Why not? The energy was extracted from the environment and converted into a sound file playable on your computer. It may have been post-processed a bit, but it is a record of fluctuations created by the Bug Bang.

Re:Recordings? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367623)

I had heard the Big Bang created all gas giants and nebulae, but even I don't believe they can record it's flatulence.

Re:Recordings? (1)

jovius (974690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367521)

Could these be called playbacks? Recording medium is the cosmic background microwave signature in the fabric of the universe, and these are playbacks of it at various speeds.

Am I the only one to notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367211)

That the first few seconds sounds like the intro to Doctor Who?

Sound? (1)

cwarrior (2594465) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367349)

Pardon my apparent ignorance, but how would there have been any sound if there was nothing for sound waves to travel through? (i.e., "In space, no one can hear you scream." -- Alien)

Re:Sound? (1)

Pembers (250842) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367405)

Back then, the universe contained the same amount of matter as it does now, but compressed into a much smaller volume. Therefore it was much denser - much too dense to be considered a vacuum - meaning that sound could travel through it.

Re:Sound? (1)

bad_bob66 (2837475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367625)

I'm not buying that one. The materials would be super-dense, super-hot, moving at almost the speed of light, and moving in different directions. I don't think sound would have much meaning here which could be correlated with what we sense as sound.

Re:Sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43368061)

Plasma has compressional waves that work a lot like sound does in air, just there are a bunch of other kinds of plasma waves too, and that waves in the ions can be separate from the waves in the electrons, etc.

Re:Sound? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43368509)

I'm not buying that one. The materials would be super-dense, super-hot, moving at almost the speed of light, and moving in different directions. I don't think sound would have much meaning here which could be correlated with what we sense as sound.

We correlate the propagation of disturbances in the fluid medium which immerses us as "sound". Do you not think that disturbances propagated in the fluid medium that existed moments after the big bang?

Re:Sound? (1)

bad_bob66 (2837475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405265)

No I don't think that, because there was no fluid medium in the moments after the big bang. There was no atomic matter at all until 400,000 years afterwards. However much you might try to stretch the definition of sound, it's not going to cover subatomic particles!

Re:Sound? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406901)

Yes, you are correct. Reviewing the chronology of the big bang on Wikipedia, I see that I had all kinds of mistakes in the order for which events happened. Thank you for correcting me!

Re:Sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43368739)

The materials would be super-dense, super-hot, moving at almost the speed of light, and moving in different directions.

the sound from about 380,000 years after the Big Bang until until about 760,000 years after the Big Bang.

In space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367391)

nobody can hear you bang.

Ouch, my internets! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367491)

I guess they're a little spoiled for bandwidth over at faculty.washington.edu, and don't realise that a 15mb, 4000x2020 JPEG scaled down to 1000 pixels is not the best use of teh tubes.

idiotic artisti bullshit (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367507)

There is no sound in space. To pretend that there is, the density, temperature, and atmospheric pressure would make it vary greatly. So really this is just made up bullshit.

Re:idiotic artisti bullshit (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367563)

There is no sound in space. To pretend that there is, the density, temperature, and atmospheric pressure would make it vary greatly. So really this is just made up bullshit.

Um, no. There really was sound in the early universe [uchicago.edu] , which was much denser than the universe today. Perhaps you should educate yourself a little before you start calling stuff "made up bullshit".

Re:idiotic artisti bullshit (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43368437)

Atom vibration requires atmospheric pressure. Any power levels registering above 190 decibels is considered a "shockwave" and not sound because it behaves differently. So no, there was no sound. Maybe you should educate yourself a little before you start posting useless arrogant crap.

Re:idiotic artisti bullshit (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43368607)

Why are you arguing using numbers for shockwave formation in atmospheric-pressure air? Do you not realize that sound can propagate in a variety of media, with different speeds (thus different thresholds for shockwave generation), and that the early universe wasn't filled with atmospheric-pressure air? Come back when you've re-calculated shockwave conditions in the state of matter prior to recombination; and if you can't do that, then don't flaunt your ignorance by spouting wholly irrelevant numbers.

Re:idiotic artisti bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43368757)

Atom vibration requires atmospheric pressure

I can assure you that at T>0 atoms vibrate regardless of pressure. Thermal motions, dude.

Re:idiotic artisti bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43368989)

What the heck are your rambling on about, short of trying to make your title refer to your own post?

Sound does not require anything near atmospheric pressure. I've worked on plasma experiments that included diagnostics to measure ion acoustic waves down to pressures of 10^-12 atmospheres. You can easily have meaningful sound waves at much lower pressures, by either reducing the temperature, or considering a larger system. As long as the sound waves you are interested in are longer than the collisional lengths, sound can exist and propagate. There are observed effects of acoustic waves in the magnetosphere that would go another nine+ orders of magnitude lower pressure than that.

And all that is relevant to something being a shockwave in general is that there are near discontinuities in various parameters, although more typically it is the case where nonlinear aspects of wave propagation cause steepening of the wave instead of the wave instead of spreading out. In air this is about 194 dB, but since it is dependent on the nonlinear aspects of propagation, the boundary between what is a shockwave and what is not varies considerably in different media and situations. Additionally, a shockwave and other nonlinear wave effects would still be acoustic waves. You can't make the same approximations you can for normal linear acoustic waves, and there are a different set of approximations you can make for various kinds of shockwaves, but in the more general nonlinear sense, they are still both governed by the same principles. And in fields where the nonlinear effects are much more significant away from shockwaves, that distinction becomes much more vague and potentially meaningless.

Re:idiotic artisti bullshit (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year and a half ago | (#43372975)

Space is not an absolutely perfect vacuum, and the medium has pressure waves, also known as sound. Just not sound that human hearing would be sensitive to.

So big crunch is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367599)

..Britney Spears???

I dont see whats so great... (1)

sighnaps (2151610) | about a year and a half ago | (#43367705)

I dont see whats so great... All Glory To The Hypnotoad!

Important! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43371649)

The parent poster knows of what he speaks. It is the one, unified, universal truth. All hail the hypnotoad!

Did you hear the very start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367859)

Can you hear a whisper sounding like "y'hiy ôr "?

CopyRight Infringers Disband! This is your last wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43367923)

Last Warning!

This is from the Warner Bros movie The Matrix.

Starting at 0:55

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_O3k-RpV2c

Was the Big Bang God farting and passing gas? (1)

coffee-breaks (2867847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43368253)

It's entirely possible.

Name of god (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year and a half ago | (#43368995)

It's the true name of god [wikipedia.org] , spoken at the beginning of creation to bring about the universe and all we know,

Whatever you do, don't play it in reverse [wikipedia.org] !

Re:Name of god (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43369647)

It's the true name of god [wikipedia.org], spoken at the beginning of creation to bring about the universe and all we know,

It won't end well for us. [wikipedia.org]

I decided to listen and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43369037)

it turns out I got Rickrolled! WTF Mr. Cramer?

this is kind of silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43369571)

Since the first billion years or so of the big bang was utterly silent by definition.... space-time hadn't expanded enough to allow the universe to cool enough to form atoms. The vibration of such atoms is required to hear sound. I suppose you could argue that vibration of individual particles was possible before that, but it still wouldn't be regarded as "sound"

Dear Gentlemen, this is God (1)

LineGrunt (133002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43369897)

I notice that you have posted illicit audio copies of my copy-written creation of the universe.

Please remove them immediately, as specified by the provisions of the DMCA...

If you fail to do so, legal penalties, up to and including extreme smiting may be incurred.

Sincerely yours,

God (Esq)

It's the Om - The vibration of the universe (1)

p00kiethebear (569781) | about a year and a half ago | (#43370513)

The Om [wikipedia.org] is the sound of the universe, it's roots are in ancient Hinduism. That was the first thing that popped into my brain. Time for quiet meditation then yoga and vegie-burgers anyone?

Creationism in a lab coat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43370931)

The universe is throbbing, not merely expanding. Expanding alternates with contracting in multi billion, perhaps trillion, year cycles. The god concept prevents people from realizing that. Religious belief is behind the big bang theory - creationism in a lab coat.

Re:Creationism in a lab coat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43372533)

Which is why no pop-sci book mentions Big Bounce or possible cycles to expansion and contraction... oh wait... the dogma must have missed one, or say, nearly every book on that topic I've seen.

Noise at the beginning (1)

SchrodingerZ (2576405) | about a year and a half ago | (#43376481)

I understand that the sound wave lowers pitch due two propagation over time (basically), I get that. But what were the fluctuation noises in the first 1-2 seconds of the sound bit?

If that is... (1)

tzot (834456) | about a year and a half ago | (#43377193)

..."let there be light" in God-speak, no wonder that our guys didn't get the tree warning.

Hi fidelity is a dirty word (1)

peawormsworth (1575267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43380317)

I hate when people say "hi-fidelity". Fortunately, not many people use it now. I only hear people use this to imply: "I paid more for my speakers then you did". The word doesnt have any meaning and in fact makes me think of products from the 50's to 70's. It like finding a tuner that says "In Stereo" on it... as if this is some soft of selling point. It would be more interesting if I was told it was recording in quadrophonic sound or captured on reel to reel, because then I would at least know what hi-fidelity was referring to.

Also, none of these sounds have any meaning. Sound doesnt travel without a medium and the big bang did not occur in a medium. So you could play a sound from the radiation of a star and tell me "the stars are singing in the heavens"... but it doesnt have any real meaning. I guess you could take timelaps video of ice melting and then call it "HD video of the SUN"... but its not really is it.

Re:Hi fidelity is a dirty word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43382571)

Sound doesnt travel without a medium and the big bang did not occur in a medium.

They're compressional waves in plasma, i.e. sound in a medium.

Re:Hi fidelity is a dirty word (1)

DirtyLiar (796951) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383107)

There is definate "low-fidelity", so high-fidelity is a given. It relates to either the fidelity (accuracy) of a recording, or the ability of equipmen to re-produce high-fidelity (high accuracy) sounds from those high-fidelity recordings.

Also, your statement implies that you cannot hear a difference between mono, sterio, and/or other multi-track audio playback (Sterio+Subwoofer, Sterio+Center, Quadraphonic, or any combination thereof).

Sterio may be standard now, but it does not make the word meaningless.

Sweet! (1)

DirtyLiar (796951) | about a year and a half ago | (#43383077)

That's cool.

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