Can light make sound

Can light make sound?

Sound is an energy wave passed through air at certain wavelengths.
If it is perceived by an organ (like an ear, but possibly a different organ in another organism) as “sound,” then it is called sound.

Light is energy carried at completely different wave lengths, and does not require a medium to travel through as sound does.
The human body does not have any organs designed to perceive light except for the eyes.

As anyone who is “completely deaf” can testify, light is not perceived as sound.
Skin can sense light as it is converted into heat energy, but could not be construed as hearing the light.

There is an old riddle: If there is nobody in the forest to hear a tree fall, does it still make noise? The answer to this is yes, because there are plenty of other creatures to hear the sound.
Sound is not defined by human perception alone.
The energy waves generated by a falling tree are still within the range of what we call sound.
The energy released by sound waves can also be destructive on it’s own, so evidence left by really loud sounds (like shattered ear drums or broken glass) can be used to prove there once was sound where now there is none, because the waves have dissipated through the sound medium, and are no longer present as sound any longer.

Bats can hear sounds we don’t hear, and other animals (like cats) can see light in wave lengths human cannot see.
Since sound and light are defined by their wavelengths, not our perception of them, these facts make sense.
These strange facts do not, however, move to the point of saying bats hear light, or cats see sound.

Yes, the supersonic boom produce thunder.
The heat can reach 50k kelvin, so lightning contains x ray and even some gamma ray.
The air expands faster than the speed of sound, so the noise contains all frequencies at the same timeā€¦ somewhat like the mysterious quantum justaposition of dead cat and live cat ; a miserable cat in a box.

The quantaray laser from spectraphysics produce such intense light pulse that it sounds like repetitive whip clacking.

Not ‘ per se’ but we could use transduction as a system to encode a particular ‘ colour’ or frequency of light to a tonal frequency.

We could start with say Green light ( Hz ? ) = Middle C ( 444 Hz ) or any other frequency you want .

Then move on to other human visable colours and sound range of the ear.

A bit Close encounters of the third kind ish.

In that film they used tones and built them into concepts ( mathematical ) ergo Humans have ‘ intelligence’, aliens have intelligence.

Lets Talk.

You will need some kind of database, tone generator and light sensor / detector for this venture.

Yes, but in the case I am thinking of, it wasn't visible light.
It was microwave radiation and it was making noise because after striking an aluminum surface inside a microwave oven, the radiation became energy that discharged into the air and made a plasma arc.
The plasma arcs themselves produced a very deep and heavy humming sound as they pulsated inside the microwave.
It was loud too.

Sound is a sensation created in the brain after eardrums have captured moving air and transformed this into electrical impulses sent to the brain for processing.
Unless light moves air, captured by eardrums it doesn't result in the brain creating a sensation of sound.
A laser can disturb air molecules and this may be audible.


To create sound waves, light must interact with a medium.
This medium must be large in order to propagate the waves over any great distance.
This criteria rules out Space.

On Earth, sound waves can be created with a very powerful light source.
A concentrated laser.
Not only does it create sound, but it does a great job cleaning up some rusty metal.

Generally speaking, light doesn’t make sound.
Lightning, which makes light, also makes sound.
Infrared light can heat something and perhaps make sound.

Joke: Heavy can make sound by falling onto something, like fragile glass.

It’s possible; it’s just hard to make happen with any useful efficiency without extra equipment (that could be construed as cheating) because air is almost perfectly transparent to light.
But if you have a laser that does very brief but high-energy pulses and you focus the beam to a point you can get a popping sound as the air is suddenly heated.

Updated: 09.06.2019 — 11:55 am

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