Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Charles and Ray Eames: The Power of Ten

Charles and Ray Eames (left) were an extraordinary husband and wife team known primarily as architects but they also produced one of the most enduring pieces of visual communication ever produced. A short movie they made for IBM captures in visual form the mathematical concept of powers of ten by showing an image that starts out with a couple on a blanket in a park and zooms out progressively every 10 seconds. On the return trip we continue further into the body of the man on the blanket into his atomic structure.

This visual exercise stretches the limits of our ability to comprehend the enormity of the universe and the complexity of subatomic physics.

Charles and Ray Eames should be included in any presentation of the history of design. They were incredibly inventive and lived to do projects that were challenging, meaningful and fun.

Their film, "The Power of Ten", should be shown to students as an example of how visual communication can be used to help us understand, or at least, be amazed by complex mathematical concepts. Visual communication is the use of images, objects, environments or experiences to communicate information and ideas.

Click on the heading above to see the short film.

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