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The Destructive Interference of Silence

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Today’s daily create asked me to create a poem, given only the following prompt:

Silence is… a poem

I thought this daily create was really intriguing. I am not the biggest fan of poetry, however I am not afraid of trying my hand at it. This was my attempt:

Silence is destructive interference,
It spawns the greatest ideas,
It yields the perfect coherence..

Just ask Newton.

As a math person, everything I do has to be related to math in at least someway. This poem is no different. When I first read the prompt, thinking about silence made me immediately think about sounds waves, or more the lack there of. All I could picture was a straight line, maybe on the EGK monitor. Now what are interesting ways to produce a straight line? Well having two waves that are exact opposites would do it. Something like this:


If we add those two waves together, they will produce a perfectly flat line! (I created those images using the Plot function in Mathematica with f(x)=\cos{x}\sin{x} for x \in [0,\pi]. This phenomenon is known as Destructive Interference. So the idea is there can be tons of sounds, but when they are put together there is silence. So this premise was the driving idea behind my poem.

The next thing that came to my mind was how during the 1600s when Newton was revolutionizing physics and mathematics The Great Plague was wreaking havoc across Europe. It was so bad Newton (who was then a student, and still being awesome) that the University he was working at closed, this sent him back to his farm. The farm was very far away from the city (hence safe from the plague), but more than that it was very quiet, one could say almost… wait for it…. silent. Newton attributed most of his genius to the silent environment he worked in. (I learned this all in the History of Math course, really cool course recommend it highly to everyone).

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