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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Powers of ten

9 minutes

The classic 1977 film that put the vastness of the universe into perspective

Opening at the scene of a picnic in a Chicago park, then gradually zooming out to encompass a view 100 million light years away before magnifying down again to a single proton, this classic 1977 short documentary by the legendary husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames uses exponential powers of ten to contextualise the scale of the known universe and chart the limits of human understanding. An ‘adventure in magnitudes’, Powers of Ten has been used to teach millions and millions about the cosmos and the microcosmic, and remains an extraordinary journey nearly 40 years later.

Director: Charles Eames, Ray Eames

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Essay/
Astronomy
Our aquatic universe

We know that the universe is awash with watery moons and planets. How can we pinpoint which of them could support life?

Tim Folger

Essay/
History of Science
Behold: science as seeing

One astronomer’s dimpled pie is another’s cratered moon. How can our mind’s eye learn to see the new and unexpected?

Gene Tracy