Cymatics--the trigger for life?
Spiritual traditions from many cultures speak of sound as having been responsible for the creation of life. The words of St John's gospel are a good example:


In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. ['Word' meaning 'sound']


The science of cymatics, the study of visible sound, is beginning to yield clues to one of the most challenging questions in science: what triggered the creation of life on earth?


The hypothetical model we have developed was inspired by ancient traditions and demonstrates that sound and cymatic forces could have worked together to become the dynamic force that created the first stirrings of life.



Around 4.5 billion years ago immense sound 'storms' reverberated within the earth's molten core and mantle, contributing to the formation of the early landmasses. Then, around 3 billion years ago, following the formation of the oceans, the first primitive life forms are believed to have evolved in the watery depths.


The nature of the structuring and organizing force that triggered life has baffled theorists for centuries. Many scientists have come to believe that fierce lightning storms ripping through the early atmosphere were the magic ingredient that literally 'sparked life'. There is a classical experiment, created in 1952, which offers some validity to this theory. A glass jar was filled with a small quantity of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water (thought to have been present in the surface pools of the early earth) then sealed.  For several weeks the concoction was irradiated with sparks. The sparks changed the character of the chemical soup and created several primitive forms of amino acids, the building blocks of life.  Dr Stanley Miller was working under Nobel Laureate, Harold Urey, when this seminal Miller-Urey paper was published.


Dr Stanley Miller with his seminal Miller-Urey apparatus


Neat as this theory sounds it fails to explain how the building blocks of life were assembled. What force was at work to cause the building blocks to coalesce, and begin to create form from formlessness? We believe, just as the ancient seers prophesied, that the creative force was the most obvious and potent of all: sound. When sound interacts with matter cymatic forces organise the matter into microscopic and macroscopic structures.


Of the several competing theories for the creation of life, most envisage primitive life forms arising in the harsh environment around hydrothermal vents on the ocean-floor where hot gases, escaping from the core of the earth, came into contact with water, just as they do today. Accepting this theoretical model as a foundation, let us explore how sound and cymatic forces could have triggered life.

Cymatic model of life
The hydrothermal vents spewed mineral-rich gases from earth's core into the seawater and made contact with molten lava in the vicinity of the vent, causing bubbles to form that ranged in size from melons to microbes. Our discussion will focus on the microscopic bubbles.
The elements that poured out of the vents emerged into highly turbulent water in an ocean of rich bubbling sounds. It is important to understand that although sound is invisible it actually carries structure, both in air as well as water. The watery membrane surfaces of the microscopic bubbles offered the perfect places for sound structures to be imprinted with cymatic patterns of energy. The areas of stillness on the surface of these tiny bubbles are called nodes, and areas of vibration are called antinodes.

Hydrothermal Vent


Image credit: Atypical Media/Capstone

Beautiful cymatic patterns on the surface of oceanic microscopic bubbles may have been the precursors to life on earth. Image credit: Atypical Media/Capstone



Cymatic Pentagon
Image credit: Erik Larson

A pentagon created by low frequency sound on the CymaScope. Since the pentagon contains phi, the golden mean, prevalent in all life forms, this image demonstrates the clear link between sound and life

It is important to note that only pure sounds can create perfect cymatic structures on the surface of microscopic bubbles. In searching for a possible source of pure sound in the early oceans we originally envisaged the sound being created by wind-driven storms. During such energetic storms the wave action at the ocean surface creates broadband white noise that theoretically contains all frequencies of sound. As this noise penetrates the water the high frequencies are immediately filtered out because water acts as a natural acoustic filter. When the noise has passed through around 100 feet of water only fairly pure low frequency sound remains.

However, we recently learned of a second possible source of low frequency sound in the oceans. In 1996 scientists discovered pure tones in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents in French Polynesia, using the SOSUS underwater sounds listening station. They theorize that the largest bubbles, generated by the vents, act like Helmholtz Resonators, effectively tuning out all frequencies except those that resonate with the gas cavity formed by the bubble. Thus, we have two potential candidates for the source of pure sound that created life.
The elements emerging from the hot vents naturally found a safe haven in the nodal areas of the microscopic bubbles, attaching themselves to the "sonic scaffolding" created by the accompanying pure low frequency sounds in the vicinity of the vents.
Put simply, in this model, life structures formed in the stillness of cymatic patterns on the surface of microscopic bubbles. The patterns of stillness were geometric in shape, such as that of a dodecahedron. Adjacent to these still areas were areas of dynamic vibration, which we could think of as the dynamic creative force.
When we use the CymaScope to study the visual geometry of sounds, we see that they include many of the mathematical constants of the universe, including phi, sometimes known as the 'golden mean'. This ratio is approximately 1 to 1.618 and it is found in all living things, thus demonstrating the connection between sound and life. Cymatic geometry is composed of patterns that form on a membrane 'imprinted' with sound vibrations, thus allowing us to observe them visually.

The reason that all living things have the phi ratio imbedded in them may be because the phi ratio is mathematically imbedded within sounds that are devoid of harmonics, sounds that we might label as "pure" (Pure sounds do not contain the rich complexity of a musical sound. Two examples are bubbling water and whistling wind.) Such pure sounds contain the all-important phi ratio and they create sonic scaffolding that we believe organised, structured and triggered life near hydrothermal vents.


Image credit: Vera Gadman/Gadman Graphics

The starfish demonstrates one nature's almost perfect pentagonal forms, linking life with the golden mean and with sound

Cymatic Starfish

Image Credit: John Stuart Reid

Sonic scaffolding
 Image credit: Erik Larson

Water CymaGlyph created by low frequency sound on the CymaScope. Note the fine tendrils emerging from nodal points--evidence of sonic scaffolding

Cymatic vortex 
Image credit: Erik Larson


Water CymaGlyph in a drop of water created by low frequency sound on the CymaScope. Note the matrix of tubular vortices, in particular the vortice that begins near the three o'clock position and snakes up to the two o'clock position before tracking further left

Daisy head twin spiral

Image credit: Science Photo Library


Gymncalyizozogsii twin spiral

 Image credit: Science Photo Library

If sound was indeed the trigger for life we would expect to find many examples of early life forms that resemble cymatic sound forms and, not surprisingly, this is exactly what we do find, as you will see in the examples below.

Recent research at Yellowstone National Park in the USA suggests that the earliest life forms may have been what we would now recognise as viruses, life forms that are often highly angular in their outer shells. Cells, according to this research, evolved much later. The angular aspects of the earliest primitive life forms and organisms provides strong evidence that sound was involved in the creative process.


Cymatic twin spiral

Image credit: John Stuart Reid

Thirteen clockwise and anti-clockwise arms created at 78 Hertz on the CymaScope


The CymaScope can also image spiral movements in water under the influence of low frequency sound. The image below is that of a twin spiral created by a pure 78-Hertz sine tone. Notice the similarity with the twin spiral arrangement of a daisy head. Sound has the ability to organise matter into regular forms including the double spiral.


Image Credit: Science Photo Library
Early Cambrian Period. 526 million years ago

Trilobites, Radiolaria and Diatoms are marine creatures that emerged much later, in the Early Cambrian, Cambrian and Jurassic periods respectively. Here are three examples that demonstrate the clear similarity between these early creatures and cymatic images created in our laboratory by pure sounds on the CymaScope instrument.


Cymatic Trilobite

Image Credit: John Stuart Reid

Hepatitis Virus
Image credit: Science Photo Library

Paleoarchean Period, 3,500 million years ago


Cymatic Virus

Image Credit: Erik Larson

Diatom Arachnoidiscus
Image Credit: Science Photo Library
Jurassic Period, 200 million years ago

Cymatic Diatom
Image Credit: John Stuart Reid

Radiolaria Actinomma Leptoderma

Cambrian Period, 542 million years ago

Cymatic Radiolaria

Image credit: Erik Larson