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Sing and Measure: Sound as Voice as Quanta


The universal concept of a “music of the spheres” traverses the history of philosophy, science and art, from Pythagoras to Kepler and beyond. In modern times, a sphere in three dimensions—the Bloch sphere—is used to illustrate the state of a qubit, the basic unit of quantum information. On the same spherical surface, the fundamental components of voice production can be located, so that any utterance can be seen as the evolution of a unit two-dimensional vector having complex coefficients. Indeed, any sound can be analyzed and decomposed into overlapping sinusoidal components, broadband noises, and impulsive transients, which in turn can be associated to fundamental means of vocal sound production, such as phonation, turbulence, and slow myoelastic vibrations or pulses. The quantum sphere can be made to sing the universal sound.