Powers of Ten

Most science students may have already seen the video below, but it is the first time for me today and I am captivated by it. Learn about the universe from the macro to the micro in just 10 minutes. Very interesting and educational at the same time. – Elias Kifle

The film begins with an overhead image of a man reclining on a blanket; the view is that of one meter across. The viewpoint, accompanied by expository voiceover by Philip Morrison, then slowly zooms out to a view ten meters across (or 101 m in standard form), revealing that the man is picnicking in a park with a female companion. The zoom-out continues (at a rate of one power of ten per 10 seconds), to a view of 100 meters (102 m), then 1 kilometer (103 m), and so on, increasing the perspective—the picnic is revealed to be taking place near Soldier Field on Chicago’s lakefront—and continuing to zoom out to a field of view of 1024 meters, or the size of the observable universe. The camera then zooms back in at a rate of a power of ten per 2 seconds to the picnic, and then slows back down to its original rate into the man’s hand, to views of negative powers of ten—10−1 m (10 centimeters), and so forth—until the camera comes to quarks in a proton of a carbon atom at 10−16 meter.

The film is an adaptation of the 1957 book Cosmic View by Kees Boeke, and more recently is the basis of a new book version. Both adaptations, film and book, follow the form of the Boeke original, adding color and photography to the black and white drawings employed by Boeke in his seminal work.

In 1998, “Powers of Ten” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” according to Wikipedia

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