I couldn't think of anything to say today. I decided I needed to take some time off. But I did write a couple pages on one of some 25+ novels I've started. I'm actually 30 pages in, which puts this one in the top five already in terms of holding my interest ;-)
“Do we need to turn our backpacks on?” I asked. “And will we survive a fall from such a great height?”
“My dear, what great height? You are smaller than the proton we were on, which itself is only something like one, ten trillionth of a centimeter.”
I could tell that was rather small, but I was too embarrassed to ask exactly how small that was. But I could not seem to stop myself. “And what is that in scientific frustration?”
“In scientific notation, the nucleus of an atom—itself usually made up of many protons and neutrons—is about 1 x 10-14 meters. If you took a meter and divided it into ten parts, then divided one of those parts into ten parts, and continued to divide one of the ten parts fourteen times, then you would have something about the size of the average nucleus of an atom.”
“That’s rather small,” I said.
"We may fall for hours and yet will never come close to the smallest fraction of a millimeter, hardly a big enough fall to get even a bruise”
Again, I knew that was rather small, but I was much more comfortable talking in inches and feet than in meters, centimeters, and millimeters. But I still could not stop myself. “And exactly what is a millimeter?”
“Oh dear,” Feynman said as we continued to fall. “I had hoped by this time that America would do a better job of moving its people into the scientific age. We tried, you know, to get kilometers on highway signs in the 1970s, like the rest of the world, but people just don’t like to learn new things. I can only imagine that by now that there are other countries about to surpass America scientifically.
“In any case, an inch is about 2.54 centimeters, and a millimeter is one tenth of a centimeter.”