If you've ever seen Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, you'll remember long scenes like this one, in complete and utter silence. Of course, that's because they happen in the vacuum of outer space, and sound is a dance that air molecules do. Air and outer space don't mix.
But life on earth is a constant barrage of molecules dancing this way and that, and the way that we detect these air disturbances is through our ears. And since we human-folk seem to get the greatest joy from naming and measuring the world around us, we shouldn't be surprised there's a whole field of study concerning the intensity of these air movements.
When we hear of the decibel – a unit of measurement named after none other than Alexander Graham Bell – we tend to think of sound levels...
Read the rest here.