CORONAVIRUS ROCK! Scientists turn SARS CoV-2 protein structure into music that sounds “a little like Zappa”


What Coronavirus sounds like


In 1980, Todd Rundgren & Utopia released a song, “The Last of the New Wave Riders,” In which at the son’s climax Todd exclaims, “The whole universe is a giant guitar!”


That’s always bugged me.


I’ve listened to the song hundreds of times and seen it performed a half dozen.


It still bugs me because it’s so preposterous and ridiculous. Obviously, God isn’t some inconceivably huge Jimi Hendrix who created the universe just to have a God-sized Stratocaster guitar.


But if Todd meant guitar to mean something broader, to mean instrument, or perhaps further, to mean a sound-vibration generating contraption, then he may have been on to something.


You see, sound vibrations, are more fundamental in the universe than matter is. Underlying all matter is vibration and energy. Under vibration and energy is NOT matter. It’s the quantum floor of our physical universe.


So it didn’t really surprise me to read this weekend in the Wall Street Journal, an article entitled, “Turned to Music, the Coronavirus Sounds a Little Like Zappa.”


From the article: “Scientists are translating genes into melodies, by creating a musical scale based on the amino acids of proteins generated vs DNA.”


Bioengineer Markus Buehler at MIT “has turned SARS CoV-2 coronavirus into music, playing the molecular code of the spike protein that makes it so contagious.”


“Variations in protein structures usually are too small to be seen, but they can be heard… (!!!)”


“The music of coronavirus is an eerie yet oddly soothing medley of plucked strings, resonant reeds, and harmonizing horns.


“His system employs a scale of 20 unique tones based on the molecular vibrations of each amino acid, more like chords than classical Western notes, programmed into a synthesizer.”


“It’s ‘a little like Zappa,'” posted a listener. {It sure is! Especially if you speed it up a lot]


[OK THIS WILL BLOW YOU AWAY:]


“BY LISTENING, AND STRADDLING THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ART, SCIENTISTS HOPE TO HEAR A CLUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS’S VIRULENCE–AND PERHAPS DETECT A WAY TO MAKE IT HARMLESS.”


(Perhaps play some live Dead recordings to it! Hey, that’s better than drinking Lysol! Put some tiny speakers on the end of a tube and insert it with the ventilators…)


“The music arises from the interplay of each protein’s amino acid sequence, it’s curling corkscrew structure and intricate folds–the elements of which have variously been assigned pitch, volume, tempo, and rhythm.”


“In this sense, the protein is like an old-fashioned piano roll…


“Dr. Buehler says, ‘There are many, many melodies layered into each other. It has a balance of order and disorder.”


In the 1980s, a UC Santa Cruz biomolecular engineering professor, David Deamer “noticed that three of the four bases of DNA were musical notes.” He discovered a short stretch of human DNA sequence that turns up almost a million times in the human genome and that it “seemed to repeat itself in waltz time.”


OK, here’s the nasty, nefarious nanotechnology part:


“Dr. Buehler and his colleagues at MIT…are also trying to use melodies to design new proteins to make new materials or useful drugs.”


“You can figure out the melodic and rhythmic patterns that make the perfect protein. You can edit the sound and change the sound and translate that back into a protein new to nature.”