Bi1x Spring 2010 Caltech’s Powers of Ten: The Relative Sizes of Things in Biology IBM’s short film “Powers of Ten” uses orders of magnitude to take a new look at physics, from the tiny subatomic particles in a proton to the huge, sweeping arms of distant galaxies. Many advances have been made that now take us well beyond the picture painted in 1977 and concern exotic states of matter at very small and very large scales. Many other advances, in biology and medicine, fit comfortably below 1 meter. In a perfect world, we could use microscopes to resolve all of these scales in the ponds, but diffraction, the way light scatters and spreads when it meets small objects, prevents us from seeing it all. What is the resolution limit of the microscope you are using? You may find this site useful: http://www.microscopyu.com/articles/formulas/formulasresolution.html The scales of different organisms dictates in part how they interact with their environment: a frog swims just fine by kicking, but
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