A video of a man using sound to create geometric shapes out of couscous has gone viral on Twitter—and it’s easy to see why.
The original video was published on YouTube in 2016 by Steve Mould, “a science presenter on TV and on stage,” who participates in the science-comedy show Festival Of The Spoken Nerd.
In the video, which has received over 1 million views, Mould uses a large sheet of metal, a violin bow and couscous (uncooked, as he points out) to demonstrate two-dimensional standing waves in the form of “Chladni figures.”
As Mould explains, the amazing geometric shapes are named after Ernst Chladni, the German physicist who invented this technique to display them around 1787—although he used sand instead of couscous.
Mould then goes on to explain how the actual math that explains the phenomenon was largely discovered by mathematician Sophie Germain, who received very little recognition for her work during her lifetime.
Prepare to be dazzled:
On Tuesday, an edited version of the video was posted on Twitter, by experimental social psychologist Simone Schnall, where it has since racked up over 2 million views, 57,000 retweets and 160,000 likes.
This is absolutely amazing: A violin bow creates beautiful geometric images from thin air. pic.twitter.com/U3KRnG8XnQ
— Simone Schnall (@SimoneSchnall) November 27, 2018
So thrilled to see a science video go viral: 23K likes so far! Thanks to everybody who pointed out it’s by @MouldS @fotsn, who’s done amazing work to share science widely https://t.co/ExiuUXrBG1 #ThankAScientist
— Simone Schnall (@SimoneSchnall) November 28, 2018
Commenters on Twitter were impressed with the effect:
Such a wicked video!
— Benting Lu (@BentingLu) November 29, 2018
that is beautiful!
— Carole (@Caroleina2) November 28, 2018
That's legitimately super cool. I assume it's something to do with the frequencies and vibrations of running the bow along the side.
— autisticscreech (@loudscreech) November 28, 2018
And thankful to Schnall for posting it:
Thank you for posting! This made my day!!
— Adriana Heguy (@AdrianaHeguy) November 29, 2018
Some shared similar experiments:
Amazing. Photographs of musical notes vibrating in bowls of water. pic.twitter.com/C9B6rBCnLp
— Gray (@gray) November 29, 2018
Washing machine creating an azimuthal standing wave in my cup of tea. pic.twitter.com/dxvESbO4GH
— Count (@7heCount) November 28, 2018
Or found meaning in the shapes:
Leading yet others to pontificate on life, the universe, and various other matters:
Every thing including us humans resonate a frequency. The total 'sum' of which shapes our reality. Wanna alter reality for the better? Raise our frequency. Careful of things that lowers it. ☀️👍
— BeingHuman (@sunfreaks) November 27, 2018
There’s a documentary about Roslin chapel here in Scotland, the architect who designed it carved resonance symbols at the top of each pillar in the chapel. When each symbol is played in order it made a song that had been forgotten by time, immortalised in the form of symbols.
— David McDonald (@SaltShini) November 29, 2018
This is also similar patterns that you can see when you close your eyes while on LSD and listening to music. Different songs create different patterns visually, they move, alternate, and change shapes. Almost like a story behind every song.
— Justin (@iJHolmes) November 28, 2018
Crop circles. All I can think of are crop circles
— B.R.O.N.C.O. (@TTKProductions) November 28, 2018
Check out Steve Mould’s YouTube channel for more amazing videos like this one.