The Instigator
resolutionsmasher
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Winning
64 Points

It is possible to hear light.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
JustCallMeTarzan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,163 times Debate No: 7348
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (45)
Votes (12)

 

resolutionsmasher

Pro

I will allow my opponent to present his/her case first.

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JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Light cannot be heard. There are 3 different ways Pro may make his case:

1. Synesthesia
2. A Solar Cell Conversion
3. High Intensity Beams

All three of these ways of making the case are either incorrect or simply impossible.

**************************************

1. Synesthesia (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Many people speak of hearing colors or tasting sounds. Synesthesia is basically a cross-wiring inside the brain. When a synesthetic sees light and hears a tone, they are still obtaining sensory input from their eyes, NOT their ears. The brain simply converts the light into a different sort of perception. This is quite similar to how we really see everything upside down, but the brain makes the conversion subconsciously.

Synesthesia is not a change in sensory input - it is a change in processing AFTER the input is registered in the brain. Thus, the resolution is negated.

2. A Solar Cell Conversion (http://www.instructables.com...).

Again, this is simply a way of changing the type of input before it arrives. You are hearing a manifestation of the light in a sound wave created by the machine, NOT the light itself. This is similar to how a blind person can "read" a book when it is in Braille. They are not reading the words, but rather feeling.

Converting one form of input to another is NOT perceiving the original form. The sensory input in from this device is sound, not light. You are hearing sound. Thus, the resolution is negated.

3. High Intensity Beams

Theoretically, it is possible that if the eardrum was bombarded with beams of photons with enough intensity to move the molecules on the eardrum itself that it could be possible for one to hear sound. However, the problem with this theory is that if you get a collection of photons with enough energy to do so, they are at such a high wavelength that they pass through the tissue of the eardrum without interacting with the molecules there. Furthermore, if they DID happen to hit one of these molecules, the frequency at which they would cause the molecule to vibrate is many, MANY times higher than the maximum frequency at which humans can hear. Oh, and the subject would quickly die of radiation poisoning.

It is impossible to produce audible vibrations in the human ear with a beam of light. Thus, the resolution is negated.

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I have presented three cases FOR the resolution and negated all three of them. The burden is now on my opponent.

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 1
resolutionsmasher

Pro

First of all I agree with my opponent on his first two points. I am not approaching this topic from the angle of Synesthesia or Solar Cell Conversions, but on the grounds that you must only change the wave length of the beam.

This brings me to my point. As my friend, s0m31john, from the comments page put it:
frequency = Speed of light / wavelength
since an ear can hear any wave within it's set frequency range all you must do to bring light down to an audible frequency. By looking at the given equation you can do so by doing one of two things:
1. Increase the wavelength drastically by changing the source so that the frequency decreases into the audible range.
2. Decelerate the light drastically by running it through a very dense medium. This will also reduce the frequency to an audible level.
This answers my opponents issue of the too high of a frequency.
Instead of directly applying the sound to the human ear, why not record it with a devise that is not affected by radiation. Then we could play it back with out the radiation threat to the listeners health.
Either way it is theoretically plausible to produce an audible sound using a beam of light. Thus the resolution is affirmed.

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JustCallMeTarzan

Con

There are several problems with this method.

First, as the wavelength of a beam of light decreases, it's energy decreases as well. Take for example, radio - one of the least energetic waveforms. Radio begins roughly at 90,000 hertz. The human ear cannot hear anything beyond around 20,000 hertz... we'll call it 25,000 just to be sure. So we're talking about something

The only way to vibrate the eardrum is for a photon to actually collide with it. Considering that a photon is a near-massless particle, it cannot vibrate the molecules in the ear. The only waves capable of vibrating the ear at an audible frequency are those that would have so little mass that they would bounce off the relatively massive ear molecules like marbles hitting the Sears Tower.

Even if by chance a photon with a wavelength between 20 and 25,000 hertz DID happen to collide with a molecule in the ear, the lack of energy in such a low wavelength would not be enough to cause a vibration strong enough to produce an audible noise - it would be far too quiet to hear.
Debate Round No. 2
resolutionsmasher

Pro

I will disprove his 'problems' with my 'method'.

1. My opponent makes the observation that light of such a small frequency as to be with in our audible range would not be energetic enough to make contact with the eardrum. This is incorrect. I would like to remid voters that light gives off it's energy into everything it comes into contact with that absorbs light. Thus any thing that is not perfectly reflective or translucent absorbs a certain amount of light and therefore its energy. Thus any wavelength and frequency of light can put energy into the ear. The only problem is if it is within our sound range. Which I have proven plausible. My opponent hasn't proved otherwise. My opponent also brings up the fact that if light in this range were to strike the ear and cause a vibration it would go unheard. If so we could jack up the wave's amplitude, thus amplifying the sound to an audible point with out changing the frequency. This is how amps (as in musical) work. Without changing any other properties of the wave we can make it audible.

Oh and to answer the comment posted by Tatarize. I am not shooting for practicality but instead plausibility.
Thus I end my input for this debate
Thank You all.
Good Debate.

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JustCallMeTarzan

Con

My esteemed opponent has not answered the objection of the fact that photons are nearly if not completely massless.

Consider the equation E= Mc^2.

A photon at rest must have no mass because it has no energy - 0 = [M(3.0 * 10^8)^2] - solving for M in this equation yields 0. Since a photon in motion is a manifestation of energy, its energy must equal its mass. The energy of a photon is calculated by: E=hv where:

h = planck constant (6.63x10^-34 J s)
v = nu = frequency = c/(wavelength)
c = speed of light = 300x10^6 m/s

The most energetic wavelength that could affect the human ear is 25000 hertz. In our case:

E = (6.63 * 10^-34) * [(3.0 * 10^8) / 15000]
E = (6.63 * 10^-34) * 20000
E = 1.326 * 10^-29

1.326 * 10^-29 = M * [(3.0 * 10^8)^2]
M = 1.326 * 10^-29 / [(3.0 * 10^8)^2]

In other words, the mass of a photon is:

0.00000000000000000000000000001326 / 90,000,000,000,000,000

This number is so close to 0 that it is pointless to calculate it. With the mass of the photon being practically 0, the amplitude of the wave is also practically irrelevant. The amplitude of the wave would need to be so great that there is simply no way of producing it. Without any plausible way to produce such an amplitude, my opponent has proven absolutely nothing.

As the instigator, the burden of proof is on him to show his proposition plausible. He has utterly failed in this regard.

Some responses:

>> "My opponent makes the observation that light of such a small frequency as to be with in our audible range would not be energetic enough to make contact with the eardrum."

This is not what I said - what I said was that it "cannot vibrate the molecules in the eat" later qualified by "not be enough to cause a vibration strong enough to produce an audible noise."

>> "Thus any wavelength and frequency of light can put energy into the ear. The only problem is if it is within our sound range. Which I have proven plausible."

My opponent says any, and then requalifies it as any within our sound range... which is far from "any" considering we can only hear about a 20 Gh range of the IMMENSE light spectrum. So it is indeed FAR from "any" light wave. He has not in any way proven that his method is plausible at all.

>> "My opponent also brings up the fact that if light in this range were to strike the ear and cause a vibration it would go unheard. If so we could jack up the wave's amplitude, thus amplifying the sound to an audible point with out changing the frequency."

Again, if the sound goes through some sort of device, we are hearing a representation of the sound, and the vibrations on our ears are caused by sound waves, not photons.

In fact, his method is FAR from plausible, as the energy of a photon is infinitesimal, and the mass is that energy value divided by 90 Quadrillion. The energy required to increase the amplitude of the light's wavelength to a level where it would produce enough energy to actually vibrate the eardrum is immense and even imPLAUSIBLE to create.

***************************************

As noted above, my opponent has not shown that his proposition is even plausible. The burden of proof is on him to show a way in which this could be done. Bombarding the eardrum with photons of a certain wavelength with a certain amplitude may actually do the trick, but the burden is on him to show how to create enough amplitude to offset the .00000000000000000000000000001326 / 90,000,000,000,000,000 mass of a 25,000 hertz photon in order to make it actually interact with the eardrum.

AFFIRMED.
Debate Round No. 3
45 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Woops.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
"AFFIRMED."
Fail
Posted by Angrypants66 7 years ago
Angrypants66
" - it would be far too quiet to hear."
From JustCallMeTarzan.

Only a good debator would have noticed that, that would have won Aff the entire case. It may be extremely quiet that you believe your not hearing it, but you are, it's just too small to notice. However there still is a sound, no matter how small, and therefore you do hear it. It's just so tiny of a sound you'll never, ever notice it. However, it's still a sound. Anything greater than zero is a sound, and light's apparently is.
Intresting debate. I know realize I can hear sound lol.
WOW :O
Trippy lol.
Posted by Tatarize 7 years ago
Tatarize
You don't use the actual frequency of the photons. That's going to fail. You oscillate light so it puts pressure and then stops putting pressure so as to give the effect of being hit at that frequency (the frequency of the oscillation).

So you don't use one photon, you use massive amounts of them and simply bombard the eardrum in waves. But rather than sound waves or photon waves you hit them pressure waves (which is what sound is) of light. Rather than using elemental pressure, you'd be using radiative pressure. But with pressure waves in the right frequency range get picked up by the ear drum, no matter if they are caused by being hit by matter or by energy.

Oh, and that's a mistake. Photons don't have any mass at all, they simply have momentum. Which is what you'd need for photon pressure.
Posted by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
resolutionsmasher
lenses made of certain glass can alter amplitudes to a great difference. If we use a series of these then we can jack up the amplitude enough to hear it.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
give it a huge amplitude? How? show me how to produce the amplitude to offset that little problem of the mass of a photon being 0.00000000000000000000000000001326 / 90,000,000,000,000,000
Posted by rangersfootballclub 7 years ago
rangersfootballclub
............... boring lol
Posted by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
resolutionsmasher
So as I said, give it a freakin' huge amplitude and be done with it.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Right, but that goes back to the notion of the weight of a photon... it simply can't produce enough pressure without a HUGE amplitude.
Posted by Tatarize 7 years ago
Tatarize
Oh, and solar sails. That's probably a better example.

Just because a Crookes radiometer works doesn't mean photon pressure doesn't exist, rather it means that it isn't the strongest force in a such a device.
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