March 29, 2007

Powers of 10

Anybody who has had Mr. Ezell's Physics class at Campbell has heard of the Powers of 10. It is the general concept of seeing the world at magnifications of 10 (inspired in Mr. Ezell's class by a video from MIT). In it, you can see things as small as quarks and then move out to things as large as thousands of galaxies. After reading Sadiq Alam's blog recently, I came across a Powers of 10 animation from Florida State University and I thought it was worth putting up here too. I think this kind of video helps us see a vision like Ellie Arroway speaks of in Carl Sagan's movie Contact:

"A vision of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone! I wish... I... could share that... I wish, that everybody, if only for one... moment, could feel... that awe, and humility, and hope. But... That continues to be my wish."