Tag Archives: Dan Brown

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!

Cracking the ‘The Da Vinci Code’

My brother started college last month. He wasn’t much of a reader until recently. He borrowed The Da Vinci Code from a friend and brought it home for me to read in the weekend.

And what a read it has been! I have always been fascinated by mystery (then again, who isn’t?). But this book is so much more than just a mystery. It contains almost everything that awes and fascinates me: mystery, symbolism, intriguing mathematical concepts, history, Art, architecture and exotic locations.

I come from a country which has been home to a people of different faiths for centuries. I have always been fascinated by other religions, especially Christianity. In fact, when I was a child and was learning about Christianity in history classes, I kept making the sign of the cross at every chance I got. However, my knowledge of other religions is only rudimentary (I am a Hindu). I have been meaning to start reading world history books (I vaguely remember the Renaissance period and the Dark Ages from school), but did not know where to start. It would probably be inaccurate to consider The Da Vinci Code as a history book, but for me it was a good start.

Learning about an alternate version of Christianity gives me a glimpse at how the religion has developed and spread. I understand that this book is only a work of fiction and do not believe everything that the author has stated to be true. In fact I researched quite a lot for the authenticity of the claims that Dan Brown made in the book (e.g. about Mary Magdalene and Sarah). But as an aficionado of good storytelling, I must say that Mr. Brown has done one hell of a job. He has cleverly included bits and pieces of history into the book. I have always enjoyed learning about the origin of words and found some good ones in this book (allow me to spill: I was most satisfied by the description of the origins of the word ‘horny’, for I have always wondered how it came to mean what it means in today’s context).

For a brief period in college I was studying the Impressionist Art for an article in my college magazine (which was unfortunately never published) and I enjoyed the Brown’s descriptions of The Last Supper, Mona Lisa, Madonna on the Rocks. I kept searching the images in Google to learn more. And I am so much the wiser because I read this book (but don’t you start to quiz me on Mona Lisa now).

In good story-telling, it is essential to ignite an interest in the reader to find out something more. I have been reading a few books in the last two months and though I have enjoyed them, not one inspired me enough to finish the book in two/three readings. I had been reminding myself what a fast reader I was when I was younger, and wondered what happened to my love of reading until I read this book. And thank God for that! I was really worried that reading had lost its charm for me.

As much as I enjoyed the story-telling, the characters did not interest so much. Maybe, for a Harvard professor, I expected Robert Langdon to be more clever. Apart from his knowledge on symbolism, I felt like he was like a child in the quest of lost treasure.

Nonetheless, Dan Brown has rekindled the love I have for reading and for that I must thank him. There were just so many pieces of historical information (like Opus Dei, Heiros Gamos) which I might never have known had I not read this book. Agreed, the views of the author may not be historically correct, but it is a starting point for me to read more. From here, I trust my mind to find more answers, and unearth more questions in the process.

Have you read The Da Vinci Code? Do you think it hurt Christian sentiments? Or do you feel that as long as a writer writes something that you truly enjoy, you will give the author creative liberty? Please share your thoughts with me.

P.S.: Today, 19th August, is the last day of the reduced offer on my first Kindle ebook, Bound by Life. Buy your copy on Amazon for just $0.99 today!