51st out of 100 books — 2 voters
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Powers of Ten (Revised) (Scientific American Library Paperback)
Over 100,000 copies of this spectacular journey have already been sold. In forty-two consecutive scenes, each at a different 'power of ten' level of magnification, readers are taken from the dimension of one billion light years to the realm of the atom. The text and other illustrations depict what we can perceive at each progressively smaller level of magnitude. "A brillia ...more
Paperback, 159 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Scientific American Library
(first published January 1st 1982)
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This book was inspired by world-famous designers. The concept? Increasing one's view by powers of ten takes one to the subatomic and universal levels rapidly. Zooming out and in. Neat! But I couldn't make my way through a whole book on the strength of that concept, and returned it to the library early on.
There is a lot more to this book, but the crux of it is a progressive series of images taken from the original movie. You start way off in space, and the each subsequent image shows an area of 10% the size. By the end, you are zooming deep into the nucleus of an atom. It blew my mind when I was a little kid, and it still does today. I doubt any book could ever hope to capture, in such a simple way, the extent to which modern science has totally transformed our understanding of everyday existence ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
Based on the short film of the same name, Powers of Ten takes the reader on a voyage into the biggest and smallest frames of reference we can currently imagine. Packed with notes and artwork, this book makes a perfect supplement to a classic, mind-blowing short scientific film.
A fun little classic little science book. It's about the size of things. And our units of measurement. For adults it hopefully impresses that right sense of scale. (When you start at 10^26 meters, you can get an idea of how infinitely small you are.) I want to share this with my child some day.
I wrote a 'book report' for math class on this in high school and in the opening sentence unwittingly used the word "astronomical" to which my dry-humored teacher wrote largely something to the effect of that being a pun, or just rewrote the word largely across the top, exclamation point.