Hans Jenny and cymatics

A film of turpentine subjected to soundwaves. Taken by Hans Jenny using Schlieren photography.

cymatics-bubble.jpgHans Jenny was the kind of Renaissance man I love: physician, fine artist, pianist, philosopher, historian, and empirical researcher. He is nicknamed the "father of cymatics," the study of wave phenomena. Between 1958 and his death in 1972, Jenny conducted a wide range of experiments documenting the effects of sound and energy on various media. This work is collected in the remarkable historical document Cymatics . He places his work in the context of the Greek philosophers who proposed systems of thought based on mathematical order and the relationship of sounds, musical tones, and words. What I love best about his work is that you can feel his wonderment in every chapter and every image (like this soap bubble that became a polyhedron when subjected to sound) . Originally two volumes (the second was published posthumously), Jenny's work on periodicity is now collected in a coffee table book-sized tome full of his photos and essays. His work has captured the imagination of physicists, musicians, New Agers, and anyone who enjoys reading the works of visionary polymaths. Check it out!

Cymatics: A Study of Wave Phenomena & Vibration