Working on with “The Da Vinci Code”: Cymatics, An amalgamation of Art and Science

In my previous post, I talked about Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. In that I said that the book would act as a starting point for me in my quest of finding answers. But I never knew I will chance upon so many wonderful things through it!

One of the reasons why I loved The Da Vinci Code was becuase it explained the Greek alphabet Phi (which often denotes the golden ratio) so nicely. I am a student of Science and facts like these never fail to pique my interest.

After reading the book, I decided to watch the 2006 movie based on the book on Youtube. The version I found was dark and sped up and I did not like it so much. So I watched this video instead. It is not the movie, but rather how the movie was made.

And what a wealth of knowledge the video opened for me! Through it, I learnt that Da Vinci may have been dyslexic.

Following the book, the climactic scene of the movie was shot in Rosslyn Chapel. This video, however, does not exactly follow the last leg of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveau’s quest of the Holy Grail as in the book and the movie, but it presents to us another wonderful secret that may have inspired the architecture of the Chapel: Cymatics. [The video is rather long at about 44 minutes, so if you want a quickie on Cymatics, check out the last ten minutes of the video]

Wikipedia defines Cymatics as “the study of visible sound co vibration.” As a student of science, I know sound propagates as waves and vibrations are the origins of sound. But I had no clue that the various tones and pitches of sound were actually capable of forming beautiful visible schematics on certain mediums, which may have inspired some of the engravings on the boxes of the Rosslyn Chapel!

Though towards the end of the Discovery video, Nick Boyes, the conservator of the Rosslyn Chapel argues that Cymatics was probably not the secret behind the engravings in the chapel architecture, but perhaps as Richard Castle would say, “Wouldn’t it be great if it was?”

I am usually not so enthusiastic about fantasy, but at one point in high school I was pretty convinced that there was indeed some universal law that would unite every field of study: science, art, philosophy, and even religion! Cymatics tickles that teenage fantasy.

At the same time, The Da Vinci Code makes me ponder on the authenticity of history. Was the world really as we know it to be? I know some would call Dan Brown’s book a bunch of conspiracy theories, but the man truly has opened up avenues for so many discussions in so many fields. And that, my dear friends, is his success!

If you’re still interested in Cymatics, you may check out this short video on TED.com:

Do you know of any other field of science that beautifully explains natural phenomena? Please share with me!

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About Arpita

Arpita Pramanick is a little, young woman with a bright face (who'd rather not look directly into a stranger's eye) you'll find walking on the corridors of Mu Sigma, Inc. She tells herself she wants to be a properly published writer (by which she means she wants to be published from the likes of Penguin), but isn't really so sincere about writing everyday. So if you see her, tell her to go write. She'll love you for doing that!
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