Scale of the Small
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Scale of the Small : From honey bees to cells, virus, and atoms -- understanding the scale of the very small
- What I want to do in this video is
- explore what happens when we get to
- really, really, really small scales.
- Before we even think about it,
- I want to familiarize ourselves
- with the units here.
- So, we're all familiar with what a meter looks like
- (the average adult male is a little under 2 meters).
- If you were to divide a meter into a thousand units,
- you would get a millimeter.
- I think we probably know what a millimeter is
- if you've ever looked at a meter stick
- it's the smallest measurement on that meter stick,
- so it's already pretty hard to look at.
- Now if you were to divide each of those millimeters into a thousand sections,
- you'd get a micrometer,
- or another way to think about a micrometer
- is [that] it's one millionth of a meter,
- so this is kind of beyond
- what we're capable of really perceiving.
- If you were to take each of those micrometers
- and divide them into a thousand sections,
- you would get a nanometer,
- so now we're one billionth of a meter.
- [If] you divide that by a thousand,
- a picometer, so a picometer is
- one thousand billionth of a meter,
- or you could say a trillionth of a meter.
- You divide one of those by a thousand
- and you would get a femtometer,
- so these are unimaginably small things.
- Now once you're familiar with the units,
- let's explore what types of things we can
- expect to find at these different scales.
- And I'll start over here,
- and I've written them on the left as well,
- but it's more compelling when you see the pictures.
- We'll start over here with the bee
- and I've arbitrarily picked something of this scale,
- there's many, many, many, [an] almost infinite
- number of things I could've picked at this scale.
- But the average bee is about 2 centimeters long
- (this bee right over here)
- it's about, give or take, one hundredth
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