|Broken fragments of porcelain art donated by Katherine|
Likewise, linear dimensions often baffle the mind. Under ideal conditions, most of us can see sub-millimeter objects. Smaller objects than that, however, become a leap of faith without the use of microscopes. To help young students understand the concept of scale (and or fun), I took a piece of porcelain and ground it to dust using a mortar and pestle.
|It took about an hour to make dust out of Christina's pieces of ceramic|
|Small pieces of dust at the sub-millimeter scale viewed by scanning electron microscopy|
|Micrometer dust on millimeter dust|
|Nanometer dust on micrometer dust|
In the same vein, it should be no leap of faith to appreciate that we can accurately date the age of the earth, or the age of the universe for that matter, and accurately chart the evolution of our species from life's simplest forms. Again, the evidence is all there to be seen, and it's real.
But this is not a lesson about belief. What strikes me here is that each microscopic landscape is a vista worthy of exploration and expression in the hands of artists. We just need the right tools to see with, and the skills to depict our findings in ways that are comfortable to live with. It seems so obvious that combining art and science is a powerful, straightforward way to educate young minds.