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At the end of last week in Ulyanovsk has started an interesting project Simple science. Its initiator is the teacher of UVAU HA Leonid Podymov.
— The main purpose of my lectures is to educate. I would like to tell Ulyanovsk on the latest and most interesting achievements in modern science into simple language so that it is clear even to the unprepared listener, — says the organizer of the “Simple science”.
Leonid physicist by education, so the project is focused mainly on natural Sciences. In particular, the first lecture was devoted to astronomy — or rather, cosmic distances and scale.
— Many people know that, for example, our Solar system is big. But it is actually an ordinary person is unlikely to adequately represent these scales and distances — simply because it is not something to compare. I tried using a few simple techniques to bring clarity in such comparisons, says the teacher.
So, during the speech he invited the audience to spend with him a few thought experiments.
— Let’s imagine that our planet has shrunk to the size of a standard basketball ball whose radius 12.2 centimeters. If we reduce all other razmery accordance with a given scale, we get the following illustrative figures: the Sun will be a ball with radius 13 meters. The globe will range from native lights at a distance of three kilometers, from the Sun to Pluto would have to “walk” 114 kilometers. However, even with this scale from us to the nearest star — Proxima Centauri — the distance will work hard to display: 772 thousand kilometers, — said the lecturer.
He cited other impressive figures: for example, if the Sun be reduced to insignificant size of colourless blood cells leukocyte, our milky Way galaxy is approximately the same space as that of the United States. As already mentioned, similar “games” with the scale allow you to turn meaningless for the average person numbers, and a degree in visual presentation.
Space may be conceived from the point of view of speed. For example, if we had achieved the impossible and pushed the ship up to the speed of light, we could fly to the moon in about a second, to Pluto — for seven hours, and the nearest star Proxima Centauri at 4.2 light years.
Teacher Leonid Podymow the audience “thought experiment”: to zoom out of the Earth to the size of a basketball
However, while the maximum speed of man-made objects — 17 kilometers per second. And if mankind will not be able to “accelerate”, Proxima will have to get almost 70 thousand years.
Leonid mentioned in passing and about the latest discoveries in astronomy — exoplanets, the new (still hypothetical) big planet in the Solar system and others.
Another objective of the project is to teach the audience to think critically about pseudoscientific sensationalism that the media sometimes sin.
We will add that topic next meeting — interesting facts about Solar system.