When I visited the Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh I was amazed by the beauty of this masterpiece built in the 15th century. Interestingly, the chapel became the subject of speculations related to connections to the Knights Templar or Freemansonry. The topic became popular when Dan Brown wrote about these symbolic designs in The Da Vinci Code.

A specific aspect of the architecture I found fascinating at one end of the chapel, is the ceiling with 4 cross-sections of arches containing designs on each array of cubes. The cubes are attached to the arches in a musically sequential way. Some claim there is a code behind the cubes sequences, which hide melodic and harmonic progressions. In some of the decorations others can recognize symbols similar to Chladni patterns.

Chladni was a German physicist and musician (1756-1827), who was considered as the father of acoustics. He did research on vibrating plates. A metal plate, supported by a post in its center, is vibrated at a single frequency by use of a mechanical driver. For most frequencies, nothing at all happens; when certain special frequencies are hit, however, standing waves appear on the plate, driving the sand away from the points of large vibration to the points of no vibration. By varying the frequency of oscillation, we can find a large number of the so-called resonance frequencies and their accompanying patterns, which become increasingly complex and beautiful as we up the rate of oscillation.

I was intrigued by the concept of a code to interpret what you see, that is the beautiful symbols organized in apparently random sequences. The idea of a hidden key that allows you to read the real message to be delivered in the form of visual patterns corresponding to specific frequencies and, when built harmonically together, to melodies. Interesting is also the concept of resonance, which is responsible, in Chladni's experiment, for moving the sands to the points of no vibration.

There are parallels with financial markets. Do visual patterns in markets hide apparently random price relationships? How to apply the concepts of frequency, amplitude and resonance to breakout moves and mean reversion? Higher harmonics imply more nodes and therefore mean reversion is likely? Could round numbers be associated to points of no vibration as they function as attractors? It is beautiful, however, to observe how sequences offer interpretations that are not obvious at first.

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

The vibration technology testing suggested is 1950s era Soviet/US related and is dated. A quick read about "The Thing" is available to those interested. Basically you throw a broad range of frequencies until you hit one that creates feedback. The Thing had the advantage of passivity and no power source so it was not detected for years.

I'd like to see testing of the hypothesis that the round number effect is more an effect created by options strike price standards and larger open interest at round numbers in home markets Forex rates and price scaling change key index values for international specs.

A brain in the past was Leon Theremin who worked with musical instruments and bugs.

The revelations about "The Thing" and its detection give an idea of how to test for key vibrations or their absence. From wiki:

The illuminating frequency used by the Soviets is said to be 330 MHz.[6] The Thing was discovered in a stroke of luck by a technician with an untuned video receiver[citation needed] — a wideband receiver with a simple diode detector/demodulator, similar to some field strength meters. It was then located during a technical surveillance counter-measures "sweep" of the Ambassador's office, using a signal generator and a receiver in a setup that generates audio feedback ("howl") if the sound from the room is transmitted on a given frequency; the generator was tuned to 1800 MHz. The device was first assumed to operate on this frequency, but tests showed it was unstable and insensitive. Peter Wright, a British scientist, then got the Thing operating reliably at 800 MHz.

For land-based structures, this debate continued through the 1980s. It was important to the nuclear power industry. They were required to design against probable seismological events. Millions of engineering hours were dedicated to modeling flexible and rigid systems. Both worked. Billions of dollars were lost as the industry switched from one approach to the other. Flexible models require detailed analysis of harmonics, which varied by geography. In the end, the industry settled on rigidity–mostly.


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