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


8 thoughts on “Powers of Ten

  1. When I get 10 to 25 , it is very hard to imagine.
    I can see , God is great to manage all these Planets.
    Can you imagine 10 to minus 15, how small it is?
    God , you are Great. How do you create elements(Pruton, nutron and eletron)?

  2. Always good to watch a video describing the mind boggling expansiveness of the Universe. Thank you! Here, imo, is a video that does the same thing, but even better.

    Journey to the Edge of the Universe

  3. #3 is also very nice. When I get -01.22 , I get lost where I was.
    How far you guys follow?
    The universe is very big. I can’t find the right word other than big.
    Maybe huge?
    I don’t know.

  4. Anonymous on

    Thanks Elias. Wow! Simply astonishing! I had no idea how humongous the universe is, and I am also amazed and impressed at how far the technology has come, it is fascinating to watch!

  5. Dejazmach of Tigray on

    This is allways facinating, what is even more mystrious is that our universe which at first was created from a very tiny object usually refered as “cosmic egg” that had four laws of nature: Gravitational force, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear encapsulated with in this cosmic egg, exploded some 13.5 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since and interestingly enough our earth was created some 4.5 billion years ago in the process, so in a sense our planet is a new comer. One has to ask who set the universe in motion and why is the universe expanding? philosophically speaking for every cause there is an effect, so we have to ask that there has to be a first cause that brought the cosmic egg containing the four lawas of nature with in it into existance and cause it to explode and this first cause must be beyound our space and time otherwise it itself will be affected by the cause and effect law that governs our universe. Indeed we in the orthdox church believe that God isn’t governed by time and space and this if we believe puts God beyound the reach of space and time unaffected by the laws of cause and effect. Fascinating !!

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