Thursday, September 17th, 2009...8:03 pm

Powers of 10

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The Times recently reminded us of one of the timeless films from the 1070s, Charles and Ray Eames’s Powers of 10, a representation of the macrocosm and microcosm. The film begins with a camera hovering over a couple’s picnic on the Chicago lakeside, a frame 1 meter wide (10 to the power of 0 meters), then zooming out incrementally by one power of 10, until the view finally reaches 100 million light years (10 to the power of 24 meters). The scene then zooms back until we see the couple, when the camera zooms in on the man’s hand then the microscopic level and, eventually, subatomic view until we are brought into the protons of the carbon nucleus of the man’s tissue cell, 0.000001 angstroms or 10 to the power of minus 16).

It does put things in perspective.


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