Time: Between Science and the Arts, April 2009

The Einstein-Rosen Bridge

Charles and Ray Eames in 1977 created a short documentary film (based on a 1957 essay by Kees Boeke) that showed us the beauty of the Universe at all its space scales. The film, later produced as a book, ‘zoomed’ through 42 orders of magnitude of size, from sub-elementary particles up to the whole Universe.

The rates of measured, calculated, or imagined processes cover more than sixty orders of magnitude – less easily illustrated but no less fascinating and ‘beautiful’. (Actually, an infinite number of orders of magnitude, since I consider that “imaginable”.) For much of the range, every third order of magnitude (power of ten) has been given a (sometimes picturesque) name, ranging from a ‘zeptosecond’ to ‘googol years’.

I survey these rates, or durations, zooming from the shortest physically meaningful time – a concept I discuss briefly - out to the longest useful time, the projected (though disputed) lifetime of our Universe.

To continu with the text, see the Editorial by Prof. Peter Hillman