Posted: May 13, 2010 6:16 am
natselrox wrote:I have always felt the need to create a video providing the perspective from the opposite direction, the microscopic world. If only I could write that well...

It is said that we humans occupy a place that's halfway between the vastness of outer space and the far reaches of inner space, there's as much space out there as there is in there. We get lots of stimulating views of outer space, from Hubble and Keck and Palomar and the eyes we have in Southern Chile. These views opportune our ability to imagine it. But inner space is nowhere so well illuminated in the documentary sense, we get animations, and they certainbly help. But imagining inner space is a tall order.

They've been touching on this in the Black Hole thread, where it is decribed that matter at the singularity is so dense it has been forced to assume a structure that's plasma-like and unlike anything we know of. The seething cauldron of a black hole exemplifies inner space; it is dense and yet comparatively speaking there are vast reaches of empty space between its particles. It becomes a matter of scale. Shrink a human down to a size where his relationship to a particle in a black hole is the same as it is with our sun, and the next particle will appear to be at least as far away as a distant star.

Your project would have to be a digital animation done in some manner that allows us to perceive the depths to which you'd take us, molecular level on down to the atomic, where atoms are as we know very much like super miniature solar systems. It'd probably take lots of experimenting to achieve a portrayal that actually does give a viewer the sense of traveling down into inner space. It's a challenging visual to achieve. You need some words too of course ... to act as cues for our journey and help keep us on track for the depths. Can any of us really imagine standing next to a molecule? Let alone an atom?

The imagery in Sagan's piece does take us out to the far reaches of deep space, I get that sense from it. The idea of reversing this and going the other way is indeed an intrigueing notion. It's as far to an atom as it is to a distant galaxy, so to speak. We do get some documentary visuals of it, using X-ray microscopes and such. But the journey from here to there hasn't even been portrayed in any convincing manner to my knowledge.

I remember seeing some footage in a High School science class of an atomic structure from which individual atoms could be seen as they "boiled off" and flew away. The film was pretty grainy but individual atoms appeared like steel balls, all packed together and vibrating, and every now and then one would boil off and fly away (I'm using "boil off" here loosely). That footage was shot 50 years ago. I've never forgotten it.

All in all, pretty fascinating stuff. :thumbup: