Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Eat my shorts

Sometimes I give measurement a tough time on this blog. My irritation with metric mania is well known. But hold the bus. Sometimes the passion for precise measurement takes us to strange and fascinating places. For example, the speed at which electrons move can only be measured in attoseconds. To get to grips with the attosecond, we have to get relative. An attosecond is related to a second as a second is related to the age of the universe!! That makes electrons way beyond fast and impossible to catch on film. And yet, Nothing is Impossible. Now we learn that scientists have filmed an electron in motion for the first time. How cool is that? They’ve given new meaning to the term "short" film. Fortunately for us, the motion has been slowed down so the human eye can actually pick it up. Ok, filming an electron is great. They’re fast and very illusive. Time to ramp it up and capture something even faster and more illusive. How about filming an idea? Now there’s a challenge.