Exploring size and distance

It’s easy to understand that an ant is smaller than you are and a house is bigger. But already comprehending how much bigger than you the earth is starts getting a bit more difficult…

In 1977 Charles and Ray Eames created a short film called “Powers of 10” (the website is here) for IBM that explores distance in both positive and negative exponential terms. Their ten-minute video is still fascinating to watch today.

You can watch the video on the website given above after having signed in, but it’s already available on you tube, so let’s take advantage of that.

Credit where credit’s due: I was reminded about this when I found the video on the blog Viper Pilot – Briefing Room. Thanks to Mitch then! And be sure to give his blog a visit.

This idea has been revisited and modernized in the following video, with the wonderful voice of Morgan freeman narrating. However, this second video only zooms out and not in…

Of course, the starting point of our systems of measure are based on lengths, quantities, masses and volumes that we can easily conceptualize, so by the very nature of these systems, we have the feeling that our world is “in the middle”.

That’s really practical, but is it the truth?

Hmmm, I’ll leave that question to the physicists.

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