The Scientific Mystery Of How Sound Explodes Into Light

We’ve seen the Pistol shrimp snap its claws so fast that you can only see it at 10,000 frames per second, but the little guy’s trick is even wilder than just that. A Pistol shrimp can actually snap its claw so fast that sound turns into light, and scientists still don’t know how that’s even possible.

As MinutePhysics explains, the phenomenon, called “sonoluminescence”, is easy to reproduce, but it’s way more difficult to understand. The flashes of light last a mere 0.0000000001 seconds, and they are hotter than the surface of the sun, but what goes on in there is still up for grabs. Is it a flash of plasma? Burning Argon? Exploding H20? All are possibilites. Time to round up those Pistol shrimp and get them talking.