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Revisiting ‘Powers of Ten’ – what we’ve learned about the Universe since 1977

Directed by Charles and Ray Eames, the legendary husband-and-wife filmmaking and design team, the classic short Powers of Ten (1977) invited viewers to contemplate the edges of our understanding of reality. Starting from a picnic blanket in a Chicago park, that film took viewers on a journey that stretched to the scale of 100 million light years away, and then back down to a single proton. Narrated by the BBC TV presenter Brian Cox – a professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester – this new short pays homage to the Eames classic by transposing its elegantly simple premise to today. This time, the picnic blanket is in Sicily, and the time horizon stretches to a scale of 100 billion light years away; the resulting film integrates updates in astronomy, astronomical imaging and human understanding into its journey far into the cosmos and back again.

4 January 2022

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