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C O U R S E 
Emergence of Life
Bruce W. Fouke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Order of Magnitude in the Sciences
Notes taken on November 28, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
the concept of scale
a common hurdle in understanding the universe
two dimensions
how large or how small is something
how long ago or how far in the future something is
how to do handle the broad scales that we have to deal with for these two dimensions
realize that when studying the world and our universe, spatial and temporal scales are vast
we are used to understand most things in our lives as how big they are in relation to our human bodies
a tree is three times as high as someone
a child is half the size of an adult
the average diameter of a bacteria is one micron
one millionth of a meter
we have the same time with temporal measurements
we usually measure things in relation to the length of a human life
cells divide within seconds
chemical reactions are a fraction of a second
the age of the earth, 4.7 billion years
consider a critical conceptual benchmark
is something 10 times larger or 10 times smaller
is something 100 times larger or 100 times smaller
something that is twice as big as something is interesting, but something that is ten times as big as something else is fundamentally different
we can put objects in the universe into a ten by ten basis
exponential notation
how many zeros come after a number
if something that is 1000 times larger than something else is 3 powers of ten greater
when something is 2 times the power of 10 smaller, it is 100 times smaller
one power of ten is one order of magnitude
average child is one meter tall
how does the fit into the measurement of a kilometer high mountain
the mountain is 3 powers of 10 larger than the child, or 3 orders of magnitude larger