Cymatics Could Help Surgeons Identify Cancer Cells for Tumor Removal
The study of cymatics has fascinated researchers for years. Now, one scientist has found a practical way to use the phenomenon to enhance targeted cancer treatments.
The study of cymatics, or the spontaneous, geometric patterns produced by sound when it encounters water or particulate matter on a surface, was coined by Swiss researcher Hans Jenny in 1967. Jenny documented the patterns that appeared when putting sand or fluid on a metal plate that was connected to a sonic frequency oscillator.
Today, acoustic-physics scientist John Stuart Reid has partnered with Dr. Sungchul Ji at Rutgers University, to apply cymatic imaging to identify cancer cells compared to healthy cells. The two hope to develop this technology to allow surgeons the ability to more precisely target cancerous cells when removing tumors.
“So, what we do with the Cymascope instrument is to literally imprint sound onto the surface and indeed the sub-surface of pure, medical-grade water and thereby make it visible with specific lighting techniques. It’s actually quite difficult for a surgeon to remove a tumor in its entirety,” Reid said.
While this type of technology would aid any procedure requiring the surgical removal of a tumor, it would be particularly groundbreaking for brain surgery and other highly sensitive areas in which healthy cells must be carefully navigated.
So, what do cancer cells look like compared to healthy cells?
“What we found was that the sounds of cancer cells are generally fairly skewed and, well, I would call them subjectively ugly,” Reid said. “Whereas the sounds from healthy cells, generally the sounds are harmonic and therefore the patterns that are created, these cymatic patterns, are very symmetrical by comparison. As the cell has a kind of respiration, it’s literally making sound all of the time, so all of our cells are singing all of the time. Actually, it’s really interesting to know that they’re singing in the audible spectrum.”
“So, in other words, if we could hear those sounds, well it would actually drive us nuts, wouldn’t it? So, it’s probably just as well that we can’t hear them, however, they are literally in the audible spectrum. It’s just a question of having specific tools that allow us to listen in to those sounds and then amplify those sounds so that we can then hear them.”
As Reid and his colleagues continue to develop the Cymascope for targeted cancer surgery, they are also looking into a number of other applications for the technology across multiple scientific disciplines.
“We are at the very beginning, you could say, of this new revolution in science in terms of making sound visible,” Reid said. “It’s extremely important because sound actually underpins virtually every science. If you think of biology even, all the biochemical reactions that are occurring in our body all of the time, they’re all based on sound if you think of it from the atomic viewpoint. So, being able to make sound visible is a really wonderful way of gaining new insights into almost every science.”
A New Phase of Matter Appears to Defy Laws of Thermodynamics
Scientists have created a new phase of matter known as time crystals, a quantum phenomenon appearing to defy the laws of thermodynamics. Could this discovery upend our understanding of classical physics?
A team of researchers developing Google’s Sycamore quantum computer announced the successful creation of a time crystal that lasted for 100 seconds. This novel phase of matter appears to defy the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy, or chaos and disorder, always increases in an isolated system. In other words, energy must be put into a system in order to maintain structure or motion. But time crystals have been observed to maintain a constant state of flux, without losing any energy.
Dr. Simeon Hein, director of the Institute for Resonance, explains the science behind this strange phenomenon.
“Crystals are in everything we do—they’re in watches—they’re in so many things because they’re regular, they create evenness, they create this consistency. And just like their pattern is very consistent, the energy that crystals transmit turns into a very regular pattern which is why you can use a quartz crystal in a watch,’ Dr. Hein said.
“You can put a noisy electrical signal in but it will come out as a very consistent beat, and that created the idea for some people, in this case, Frank Wilczek from M.I.T. in 2012, to propose the idea that you not only had crystals in space, you could have crystals in time. You could create an oscillating circuit, using specific quantum principles, you could create a very constant quantum beat.”
Time crystals have been described as the first “out-of-equilibrium” phase of matter, meaning they maintain order while in an excited state. But how do time crystals accomplish this, without expending energy?
“At a quantum level, they’re getting energy from something called the Zero-point energy field. The Zero-point energy field is the lowest ground state of quantum matter, but the lowest state doesn’t mean absolute zero like nothing’s happening. The quantum ground state is actually the base state of the universe, where even though there’s nothing happening, the field itself generates energy, causing random fluctuations and particles to pop out of nowhere, and all sorts of really interesting effects that normally, I should say most of the time, we don’t see in our regular, physical reality,” Dr. Hein said.
“So these coherently entangled particles would be deriving their energy from the quantum vacuum field. But if they’re getting their energy from the quantum vacuum, instead of our classical world, you can’t see any reason why they would eventually have to wind down like our regular clocks would, and energy would dissipate.”
With this new discovery of time crystals appearing to defy the second law of thermodynamics, how has mainstream science reacted, or tried to reconcile this paradox?
“A lot of these quantum phenomena seem to defy classical physics, the whole idea of quantum entanglement suggests faster than light interaction or communication, Einstein called it ‘spooky action at a distance,’ and experiments later confirmed that you could take pairs of particles and separate them, and you could do something to one of them, and the other particle would immediately react at farther and farther distances away,” Dr. Hein said.