The repetitive physics of Om

Two Indian scientists are wielding sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound “Om”. The Om team has published six monographs in academic journals. These plumb certain acoustic subtleties of Om, which these researchers say is “the divine sound”.

Om has many variations. In a study published in the International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, the researchers explain: “It may be very fast, several cycles per second. Or it may be slower, several seconds for each cycling of [the] Om mantra. Or it might become extremely slow, with the mmmmmm sound continuing in the mind for much longer periods but still pulsing at that slow rate. It is somewhat like one of these vibrations:

‘OMmmOMmmOMmm…

‘OMmmmmOMmmmmOMmmmm…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.