What Sound Waves Look Like

By Tonka Dobreva 03.31.2015 interact

On the show today you learned about two George Mason University students who created a fire extinguisher based solely on sound waves. Pretty cool, right?

Sound waves can do more than extinguish fire — they can be turned into lasers. And since laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” these new inventions, which use the particles of sound called phonons, are called “phasers.” Sound waves can also be used to heal a wound by applying  low-frequency and low-intensity ultrasound to an injury. And today, scientists are even using sound as a tool to go back in time. That’s right — with the help of archaeoacoustics, researchers are trying to reconstruct how the popular Stonehenge circle sounded like 3,000 years ago!

With some clever photographic tricks, we can even see what sound waves look like as they travel through the air — NPR has the video to show you. Check it out below.

Do you know of any other cool things that sound can do? Share in the comments section below.


  1. GReinhart87

    Understanding = Power

  2. Allilol

    This is TOTALLY UN-RELATED, but I once did a science project on how the microwave oven affects your health, and Microwaves and the Microwave OVEN are NOOOOOOOOOOOT the SAME THING!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRR! Oh, well! 🙂 -Alli

    • GReinhart87

      Don’t microwaves emit microwave radiation through a magnetron? In that case, your project IS related, in a sense.

  3. Johnathan

    Sound waves can be used to see what’s around you. Animals like bats and dolphins use it to find food and other things. It’s called echolocation.

    • loganhornerfritsch

      people use that to, you know when a glass is getting full, thats echolocation

  4. mariah king

    Wow!!!!! So amazing

  5. mariah king


  6. jackson

    omg so cool saw nothing like it it was amazing

  7. Mia and Madi

    sound is really cool and it travels really far and madi is hungry and she likes boys

  8. Mia and Madi

    Sound is amazing!!! It travels soooooooo far. Madi is crushing!!!!!!

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