Scale: Worlds within worlds

| Scales of Size |

There’s a lot of stuff in the world. The physical matter we perceive (which is actually a very small portion of the sum total of stuff) arises from the interactions of really tiny particles that are too small for us to see with our own eyes. At the same time, everything we perceive exists in the cosmic context of a solar system / galaxy / universe that are all too big for us to see as a comprehensive whole from our current vantage point. Basically, given the constraints of our size and location, our perspective is very limited.

Fortunately, art and technology can help us imagine what the world looks like at different sizes and scales of magnification. With this enhanced ability to zoom in and out, to change our point of view, our perspective expands, as does our understanding of the breadth and depth of the physical world.

Cosmic View

Kees Boeke’s Cosmic View is a classic on learning about the scale of things. It is similar to the Morrison’s Powers of Ten, but aimed at a younger audience. Its legacy includes Charles Eames’s film Powers of Ten, the resulting book by Philip and Phylis Morrison, and several similar books which followed.

Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps (1957) | Kees Boeke
Powers of Ten™ (1977) | Ray and Charles Eames

Cosmic Zoom (1968) | Eva Szasz

The Universcale

From the nanoworld to the universe — The worlds we measure using our infinite yardstick.

Nikon’s opto-electronics technologies let people explore realms beyond the range of the naked eye.

In this presentation, you can see the relative sizes of objects arranged on a single scale. This lets you grasp the sizes of things that you cannot compare side by side in the real world. Today’s electron microscopes and astronomical telescopes reveal objects that were invisible to people of the past. How is your grasp of the sizes of such things?

Universcale lets you see and understand the relative size of the full range of known objects in our universe.

The Universcale: From the nanoworld to the universe (interactive site) | Nikon