CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research

Powers of Ten



To increase understanding of the size of our universe by depicting its relative scale in factors of ten.


Powers of Ten is a 1977 short documentary film written and directed by Charles Eames and his wife, Ray. The film depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten.
The film begins with an aerial image of a man reclining on a blanket; the view is that of one meter across. The viewpoint, accompanied by expository voiceover, 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, 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 waterfront; 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 to the picnic, and then to views of negative powers of ten; 10-1 m (10 centimeters), and so forth, until we are viewing a carbon nucleus inside the man's hand at a range of 10-18 meter.
Produced by: Pyramid Films
Duration: 8:30 min
Copyright CERN

Post date: Fri, Feb 04, 2011 — 10:36
Updated date: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 — 04:32

Learning Topics