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Here's what the Big Bang probably sounded like
"Where's the drop?"
 
"wub wub wub wub…"
"wub wub wub wub…" ThinkStock/Digital Vision

Theoretical question time! If a universe suddenly explodes into existence, does it make a sound?

The answer: Yes, of course it does silly, at least according to University of Washington physicist John Cramer, who has created a simulation of the deep, throaty bass line theoretically caused by the Big Bang some 13 billion years ago.

"As the early universe expanded, sound waves propagated through the dense medium that closed back on itself, so that the hypersphere of the universe rang like a bell," Cramer tells TechNewsDaily. The effect, he says, would not have been unlike a magnitude-9 earthquake making our entire planet reverberate. 

But just how do you re-create the sound of the Big Bang, especially now that it's long gone? Well, first you need to figure out where it was recorded. According to Rebecca J. Rosen at The Atlantic, Cramer looked to a specific thermal imprint called CMB (short for cosmic microwave background), a special wavelength permeating the universe. "By mapping tiny variations in these waves, scientists can work backward to describe the composition and structure of the early universe," says Rosen. Think of it as a cosmic version of inscribing grooves on an old vinyl record. 

After examining CMB data collected in 2003 by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, Cramer fed the raw wavelength information into a computer program called Mathematica, which is often used to visualize complex math problems. The CMB waves were digitized, the frequency was boosted 100 septillion times so that human ears could actually hear it, and voila! — a playable but strange-sounding galactic belch.

Here's what the first 760,000 years of EXISTENCE ITSELF sounded like immediately following the Big Bang:

No, there isn't a drop. And as usual, that's probably a good thing.

 
Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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