|Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps
by Kees Boeke (1957)
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The Universe in 40 Jumps
By KEES BOEKE
This unique book takes you on a graphic journey through the universe, to the edge of infinity in one direction and to the nucleus of the atom in the other.
It consists of a series of 40 illustrations with text and captions. The first picture, of a girl sitting in a chair, seen from above, seems ordinary enough; the magic comes when, in successive pictures, the author shows us her and her surroundings minified and magnified. The second picture shows the same girl in the same pose but from ten times farther up, the third from ten times as far as the second, etc. Each picture thus shows a greater area, and soon you are seeing the globe of the earth itself. You continue moving in imagination, out through the solar system, the Milky Way, and beyond to other galaxies, until at last even a galaxy is but a pinpoint on the printed page, and you can go no farther because man does not yet know what lies beyond.
But now, returning to the girl, you see her from closer and closer instead of farther and farther. You are shown a closeup of her hand, then microscopic views of it each ten times more magnified than the last. As you view one after the other, you see the structure of the skin tissues, mites and bacteria and bacilli, viruses, molecules, X-rays, cosmic rays, and finally - under a magnification of ten million million - the nucleus of a sodium atom. On the scale of this drawing, a man's height would be about the diameter of the solar system. Again you must stop, because one cannot imagine, much less picture, what a greater magnification would present.
In this awesome journey to the ends of the universe, you have learned an immense amount about its structure and the beings and things that occupy it, and above all about the relationships of things to each other, in their various scales of dimension, with a vividness that words cannot express.
Cosmic View is a book for everyone with a lively interest in the world he lives in. Space travel and atomic structure are no longer science fiction in this world of today, but matters of vast importance to all of us. This book is a virtual diagram of outer space, the atomic core, and everything between.
KEES BOEKE was a Dutch schoolmaster who conceived the idea of this book as a vivid way of imparting a "sense of scale." He had developed it for years, perfecting the drawings and adding more and more information to them. Their plotting had been a towering job, for he was determined that every object shown should be in the correct relationship to every other as to position, size, and distance. For example, having chosen noon of a certain day in a certain year as the time when all the 40 pictures are conceived to have been made, he placed the planets, the sun, and even Halley's Comet in precisely the locations they would have had at that instant. In the reduced-scale pictures, to give another example, viruses are shown in their actual shapes, and in the correct sizes in relation to bacilli and other organisms; the wave lengths of radio waves and X-rays are drawn to scale, and we learn how minute by comparison are the gamma rays of the nuclear scientist.
Mr. Boeke was trained as a civil engineer and later became a teacher. He started the internationally famous Werkplaats Children's Community, a school in the Netherlands, and founded the Dutch section of the New Education Fellowship. Mr. Boeke died in 1966.
DR. ARTHUR H. COMPTON, Nobel prize winner in physics, has written the introduction.
THE JOHN DAY COMPANY
This content is from Kees Boeke's book, Cosmic View: The Universe
in 40 Jumps. It has been placed online without permission.
Copyright (C) 1957 by Kees Boeke. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted, or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photo-copying and recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system, without permission.