The Science of Silence: What the Quietest Places on the Planet Sound Like
What does the quietest place on earth sound like? That was the question posed recently by Kyle Hill, the YouTuber behind the Because Science page, which explores pop culture topics from a scientific perspective.
One of his newest videos was inspired by A Quiet Place, a 2018 film starring John Krasinski (better known as Jim from The Office) and real-life wife Emily Blunt. In the movie, monsters with hypersensitive hearing start hunting humans whenever they make the slightest sound. “If you wanted to stay safe, how quiet could you possibly get?” Hill asked.
While exploring this hypothetical question, Hill looked at a couple of actual examples of incredibly quiet places in the U.S., particularly the Microsoft Audio Lab in Redmond, Washington, which is used to test microphones and other equipment. This anechoic (non-echoing) chamber, which was officially recognized as the world’s quietest place in 2015, is so silent that you might even be able to hear the blood rushing through your veins.
It beat out the previous record-holder, Orfield Labs in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is “engineered specifically to eat sound,” Hill explains. The geometric panels in the room, placed on an angle, work by absorbing sound waves and eliminating practically all echoes.
As Hill explains, people could probably evade man-eating creatures with supernatural senses by constructing extremely quiet spaces—but most of us would need to brush up on our engineering skills first.