Welcome to the June 11 edition of The Digest.
Do you think of stomping and clapping your hands to the beat of “We Will Rock You” by Queen? Do you think of speech patterns and limericks? Your daily routine? Rhythm connects us to the world - it’s even written into our biology. Check out how rhythm is linked to our socialization, health, and culture. It’s pretty incredible. Link.
If you're like me, you probably haven't. It's essentially a sound version to light's photon. When it comes to understanding the weirdness that is quantum physics, phonons may be lead to understanding the interface between the quantum and classical world.
At almost absolute-zero temps, atoms can only vibrate at discrete, set intensities (remember phonons?). So by cooling crystals the size of a grain of sand to extreme super-low temperatures and using sound vibrations, physicists have discovered properties that may be exploited to create memory in quantum computers. As lead physicist Matteo Fadel puts it: “These are fundamental, almost philosophical experiments… but they are also important for future technologies.” Link.
Scientists have been studying the effects of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and they’ve found that the rhythmic patterns of brain activity are markedly different between healthy brains and those with neuropsychiatric illness.
Whether it’s improving attention spans in high-stakes environments or recovering memory function for those with dementia, tACS shows promise for strengthening and reviving mental capabilities. Just how it works isn’t exactly known - and there is some controversy if it even works at all. But the process shows promise. Check it out! Link.