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Interactive video lesson plan for: Scale of the Universe

Activity overview:

Filmed at CERN and the LHC. Behind the scenes at: Sub to sixtysymbols: ... Song by Dave Lens ( featuring ViHart (

Another "spoken" version by Dave:

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Sixty Symbols videos by Brady Haran

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If you were to
/ Zoom in / phase-out,
move in / focus on this
Human / whose cells magnify
as you fly through them, and see

Atoms, looming /
but you keep shooting past
protons, bosons, quarks 'til even a
part of a particle's too big / Then

boom / an end to the intrusion
/ As you hit the resolution of the
universe / the strands of its fabric
the tiniest fragment / the planck length,

past that, Gravity becomes
fallacy, try contrasting that with the
galaxies / try to grasp the huge magnitude
of the universe it's unimaginable.

But let's try anyway.

If that
insane length was one dollar bill
/ Then to reach the
wavelength of the smallest particles
Quarks, that are so fundamental

they don't have an inherent size
would be the current price you'd gain if you sold
Mount Everest made out of gold.
That is insane.

if you applied the Midas touch to my mind
it'd be quite enough to buy a car to drive
And the gluons and 3 quarks combined
make a large hadron those guys collide;

a proton / and to magnify to that
size would turn that Midas mountain
into a diamond / my
mind made of that could buy you an island

/ and next we ramp up, from
quarks and protons to atoms,
atoms the fractions of matter the ones that
that grant us our mass, and

if that quark was counted every time you take a
/ single breath / you'd respire
Midas mountains then
until your death

/ and if that life / was compressed
into one lock of hair / then as we
climb / up the rest / of these
atomic stairs / then we'd pass

/ DNA / when we get to my red streak
and the size of our cells
/ we equate / to every
hair on my head...

[Sometimes you make me feel so small
Can't comprehend your size
Yet I'm a giant in your eyes]

If we took my
head of hair that a cell represents
lifetimes of Midas Everest breaths
and then you would stretch it out to the skyline,
again and again

you'd find circle round the earth 10 times
before you meet me... and you.   
Right here the reach of a human,
a meter or two / and if we were to choose

one song to represent those
horizons, an MP3 on our
device then to reach the size of the earth
compared to like our size

that's a terabyte hard drive filled with our files
it seems immense
And if we compress that collection to one word

to represent our world, then scaling coefficients
from the planet to the solar system
would let me re-read the whole of deathly hallows

And then to travel between stars
as we take to the skies
Would be 10 times every word
you'll ever say in your life

And as an analogy of the expanse of
galaxies up in space
10 times the total of every word
in every book ever made

And to move up to the scale of galaxy clusters
would be every word said by everyone in Shanghai, in London
Berlin, delhi, LA, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Moscow
Jakarta, Karachi, Dubai, Telford, Tokyo and Stockholm

And then to galaxy superclusters in the large-scale structure
with filaments that feel inadequately described as humungous
since if we stay with the scale of Earth as a word that equates
to all the words everyone alive today will ever say

finally we reach the biggest physical thing we can confirm
The indescribable size of the observable universe
which would be more than every word that every person ever has said
Every word that was ever written and every word that was ever read

[Sometimes you make me feel so small
Can't comprehend your size
Yet I'm a giant in your eyes.
I can't control the scope
But I'm not losing hope]

To summarise
Every word that every person has ever said in their lives
where each word implies enough MP3s to fill a terabyte hard drive
Where each song is 10 times the number drives to the horizon
that it'd take to ride around the world each time you set eyes on one

where each horizon is a head of hairs
and every hair there is the length of a lifetime
and each breath in that life is the price
of mount everest made entirely by midas

and that finally describes it, and it's increasing in size
So each time you listen to this song again
it'll be even more difficult to comprehend.

Tagged under: sixtysymbols,Universe (Quotation Subject),universe,large hadron collider,CERN (Organization),atlas,atoms,planck,planck length,quarks,everest,song,rap,galaxies,galaxy,geekweek,geek week,Observable Universe (Location)

Find more lesson plans like this:

Applying Scale Factors to Perimeter, Area, and Volume of Similar Figures

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