Black Holes

At This Many Decibels, A Sound Would Destroy The Universe

Let's say you're a supervillain intent on destroying the universe. Absent magical amulets or alliances with a powerful alien race, how could you pull it off? It may be possible to destroy everything with a loud enough sound.

NASA estimates the mass energy of the universe at 4x1069 joules. But that number that is considerably smaller than the energy created by 1,100 decibels of sound. Converting the energy of 1,100 decibels to mass yields 1.113x1080 kg, meaning that the radius of the resulting black hole's event horizon would exceed the diameter of the known universe. Voila! No more universe.

That said, we must remind you that destroying the universe would also mean destroying yourself, so think twice before creating your sonic death ray, mmkay?

Using Sound as a Weapon

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Zero decibels is the sound of a mosquito ten feet away, and 65 decibels is about a regular speaking volume. 00:28

  2. At 195 decibels, there is no longer a sound wave because it becomes a shockwave. 00:55

  3. What you hear when a whip cracks is the tip of the whip breaking the sound barrier. 01:58