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Whether we’re zooming in to the wavelength of a gamma ray or zooming out to the size of a galaxy, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around the big numbers we’re measuring—like nanometers (10-9meters) or gigameters (109). Take a look at these efforts to represent big numbers. What are the strengths of each? How would you represent a large number (like a gigameter)? Cary Huang: The Scale of the Universe 2 NOVA: A Sense of Scale: String Theory Chris Jordan pictures some shocking stats More than 2,400 years ago, the Greek philosopher Democritus began thinking about how many times matter could be divided. He proposed that there were, in fact, tiny, indivisible pieces of matter that he called “atomos,” meaning “not to be cut.” This idea languished for about 2,000 years until scientists in the 19th and 20thcenturies gathered empirical evidence to support and refine it. Research the history of atomic theory. What idea(s) prevailed during the two millennia between Democritus and the early 19thcentury scientist John Dalton? What knowledge did Dalton contribute, and how? When did we first have an inkling that there might be matter in unitseven smaller thanan atom, and how did scientists go about proving it? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: The Particle Adventure NOVA scienceNOW: Picturing Atoms TED: Garrett Lisi on his theory of everything TED: Brian Cox on CERN’s supercollider Jon Bergmann: Flipped Learning
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