This exhibit is all about size — everything from 10-15 to 1026 in magnitude. There's an item illustrating each magnitude.
I work out of our office on One Market Street in San Francisco. My standup-desk is right across from our Gallery at One Market. One of our newer exhibits is called Powers of Design. It was first featured at the Technology Entertainment & Design (TED) conference last year. Powers of Design depicts the size of everything from the inconceivably small to the mind-blowingly large. I thought I'd cover the exhibit elements, one at a time, over the next few months. I will start small and work my way up.
Protons and Neutrons
Our journey through the powers of 10 ranges from the ludicrously small to the incomprehensibly large. We will do our best not to break your brain. We begin subatomically, with protons and neutrons. One or more positively charged protons (diameter 1.6-1.7 fm) reside in each atomic nucleus—this equaling the atomic number.
Slightly heavier than protons, neutrons have no charge. Hydrogen aside (having one proton), atomic nuclei consist of two or more protons and various numbers of neutrons. While we begin at 10-15, there are realms still smaller—from quarks (which we know exist but can’t directly observe), all the way down to Planck length at about 10-20 the diameter of a proton. But don’t quote us, because at so many orders of magnitude smaller than any measurement currently possible, research on Planck length is mostly theoretical.
Thanks to Global Content Manager, Matt Tierney, for the images and text that comprise the exhibit element. This is just one of the many exhibits in the gallery at One Market in San Francisco. The gallery is open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission is free. Visit us.
Measurement is alive in the lab.