December 18, 2017 Good Vibrations

Apparently, I’m on a streak of using song titles that makes the actual content of the post. This one might not be that far off the title though. The other day I was watching a BBC documentary by a physicist who wanted to explain biological phenomena based on the laws of physics. His premise, like that of Einstein when he developed the Theory of Relativity, was that the principles of biology have generally not been questioned for decades or longer.

He discussed three human senses-sight, hearing and smell. The first two, according to biologists, rely on physical laws related to waveforms. However biologists describe the sense of smell using laws of organic chemistry. They assert that molecules determine smells and that the makeup of different molecules determine a scent. The shape of a molecule can only fit certain olfactory receptors so the chemical connection tells our brain that a rose is a rose

The physicist took this thought further and described the fact that molecules are not static things but particles of energy that are connects in different ways. He posits that these connectors are what determines a scent because they vibrate at different frequencies just like the strings of a violin. Those frequencies determine good smalls and bad smells. Just like music helps determines good moods and bad moods.

Thinking through his theory made me think of how much music impacts my mood. I used to listen to music all day long. From waking up to the radio to popping in a CD before bed, I made it a point to play music that made me happy. I’ve gotten away from that the past few years so it’s time to revive that habit. Music is a powerful force of physics that makes the molecules get down and get funky.

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