Christian Long

Evan Grant: Making Sound Visible Through Cymatics

In TED Talks on April 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Reflection by MARY M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Evan Grant: Making Sound Visible Through Cymatics

Cymatics could be described as a way to see sound, to make it visible through a medium, such as sand or water. Cymatics was first studied by DaVinci, Galileo, Robert Hook, and Ernest Chladni, who created an experiment using a metal plate covered in sand and used a bow to create the Chladni patterns. For science, a dictionary of dolphin language is being created by simply visualizing the sonar that the dolphins send to each other. As Grant said, “Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to gain some deeper understanding of how they communicate.” Cymatics can also be used for healing and education.

Cymatics is also used as a natural are form. The art can be created using music anywhere from Beethoven to Pink Floyd. It can also be used to look at nature, from snowflakes to starfish, and the list goes on.

But what does it mean? How can we be sure there are other uses? As there are not many people working in the field of cymatics, it would be hard to be sure. Maybe sound does have form, and we just cannot see it. Imagine how it would be to see sound, and not just to use asthetically. Maybe it can be applied to medicine, imagine how that might change our lives. Imagine the change to our lives, even without it being used for medicine. Maybe we can inspire each other into figuring its uses. Maybe we can evolve this exploration of substance of things not seen.

  1. Hello Mary,

    This emergent science was named “Cymatics” by Hans Jenny in the 1970’s. I would be obliged if you would amend the spelling of this word on your posting in case it leads to confusion on the web, thanks.

    Regarding your comment “Imagine how it would be to see sound,” the instrument invented by Erik Larson and myself, the CymaScope, allows us to do just that.

    Please go to: where you will see the sound of humans, birds, dolphins, music and much more. Happy browsing!

    Best wishes,
    John Stuart Reid

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