Do you know what this is? What does it look like to you? Does it look like a canyon?

What about this one?


On second thought, that looks too smooth for a canyon.

Back in 2005, an optics class at the University Rochester magnified a series of small objects with an electron microscope.

One of them was of a vinyl record, which is what you’re seeing in those images above.

A different set of images have been circulating online. You can see the needle riding the grooves of a record, bumps and all.


And here is a similar view of a stereophonic record with a greater magnification. The halftone suggests it was scanned from a book.


Sound is vibrational energy.

The earliest sound recordings, such as those developed by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in the 1860s and later by Thomas Edison and Emile Berliner in the 1880s, were something like fossils of those vibrations. Those sounds and their vibrations are preserved inside of these tiny grooves.

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