WHAT IS POWERS OF TEN?

Powers of Ten began with a film made by Charles and Ray Eames in 1977. Starting at a one meter square image of a picnic (10+0), the camera moves ten times further away every ten seconds to the edge of the universe (10 +25). Then the journey is reversed, ultimately reaching the interior of an atom in the hand of a sleeping man (10-18).

Images from the film illustrate the concept of scale and exponential growth or the effect of "adding another zero." The Powers of Ten also represents a way of thinking – of seeing the interrelatedness of all things in our universe. It is about math, science and physics, about art, music and literature. It is about how we live, how scale operates in our lives and how seeing and understanding our world from the next largest or next smallest vantage point broadens our perspective and deepens our understanding.

The images you see on the right illustrate the beginning of the journey in the Powers of Ten film, from the human scale (10 0) to the solar system (10 +13).
At each power of ten we see the world from a different perspective and can apply that perspective to a vast number of subjects. For example, at 10 +7 we see the earth from 10,000 kilometers. This scale applies to environmental and ecological issues of our planet. Or we could think of 10+7 in terms of time.


This would equal 10 million seconds or 115.7 days, the equivalent of one season. We’ve looked at not only space and time through this prism of scale, but also at tools which people have used at each power of ten and people whose work has been focused on a particular power of ten. Then we examined how the work of Charles and Ray Eames could be viewed from this perspective of scale and how various patterns fit into the concept as well. The result of this exploration is our Powers of Ten Interactive CDROM which contains six strands (Space, Time, Tools, People, Eames, Patterns) each containing 44 stations – one for each power of ten, for a total of 244 stations. Over 250 video clips and 3,000 pages of text are available on the disc, making it an invaluable resource for detailed information on subjects ranging from physics and math, to natural history, social sciences and the arts. The fishtrap to the right, is a map of the disc and by using it you will be able to access much of the text material of the cdrom. Click here or on the fishtrap image to start using it.

Over ten million people have seen the original Powers of Ten film – in classrooms of every subject, by corporations to promote "out-of-the-box" thinking, at meditation centers to experience "the universe within us," in museums and private homes everywhere.

The Eames Office today has extended the application of the Powers of Ten to many exciting new areas and we continue to do so via our exhibitions, lectures and educational outreach. We invite you to journey with us and contribute your own ideas, suggestions and imagination to the site.

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