“If a tree were to fall on an island where there were no human beings would there be any sound?” 1. George Berkeley (1685-1753)
Artist Note: This verse may be attributed to the philosopher George Berkeley’s edict which denies the existence of the physical world as mere ideas that can only exist when observed. His emphasis on perception through observation becomes the scientific model for determining reality. The scientific answer to the philosophical proposition of the verse states, “If there be no ears to hear, there will be no sound.” 2.
In 1931 the cosmologist Georges Lamaitre (1894-1966) proposed our expanding universe began with a singular Big Bang from a type of particle he called a “primeval atom” that gave us a universe of stars and galaxies. It is the cosmologist George Gamow (1904-1968) who determined how a “primordial quantum” is the singularity source for the Big Bang and expanding universe. 3. It is the radio astronomers Arno Penzias (1933 – ) and Robert Wilson ( 1936 – ) who using microwave receivers discovered the presents of cosmic microwave background radiation resulting from the Big Bang. 4.
The Big Bang and Black Holes can be considered two of the universes noisiest events. In 2016 evidence of gravitational waves from two colliding Black Holes some 1.2 billion light years away (one light year equals some 5.88 trillion miles) were recorded as imperceptible vibrations and as chirping sounds…. proof astronomy had finally grown ears. 5.
Artwork: My hubris depiction of a person banging on an oversized gong demonstrates the making of the universe. At best this action is pure conjecture given no one has come forward claiming responsibility for the Big Bang. Since this cosmic event was some 13.8 billion years ago the claimant may still be trying to find us…..Hello, Anyone Home?
Footnotes: 1. Berkeley, George:“ If a tree….would there be any sound? ”The Chautauquan Magazine & Institution, June, 1883. 2. _________ George Berkeley, en.Wikipedia.org, 7/23/2017 & Scientific American. 3. Soter, Steven/Tyson, Neil deGrasse,: Cosmic Horizons, American Museum of Natural History, N.Y.N.Y., 2000 & www.amnh.org, 12/8/2015. 4. Arno Allan Penzias, Wikipedia.org, 1/16/2019. 5. Overby, Dennis: With Faint Chirp, Scientists Prove Einstein Correct, New York Times, Friday, February, 12, 2016. Refer: Hall, Shannon: The Big Bang’s Particle Glow, Scientific American, December 2015.