EXTENDING OUR SENSORY
RANGE USING TECHNOLOGY
“Without the instruments and accumulated knowledge of the natural sciences... humans are trapped in a cognitive prison. They are like intelligent fish born in a deep shallowed pool. Wondering and restless, longing to reach out, they think about the world outside. They invent ingenious speculations and myths about the origin of the confining waters, of the sun and the sky and the stars above , and the meaning of their own existence. But they are wrong, always wrong because the world is too remote from ordinary experience to be merely imagined.”
Wilson, E. O. (1999: 76-77) Consilience. Random House New York.
“Of all our senses it is vision that most informs the mind... It is no great wonder that the instruments of science also favor vision; but they extend it far into new domains of scale, of intensity, and of color... [S]cience has followed into sensory domains beyond any direct biological perception. There, complex instruments assemble partial images of the three-dimensional space in which we dwell, images rich and detailed although at scales outside the physical limits of visible light.”
From the Introduction to Powers of Ten: A Book about the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero by Philip and Phylis Morrison and The Office of Charles and Ray Eames (1982) Scientific American Library, New York.
Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. Photo source: CERN.
Instruments for observing very large objects include: Satellite imaging, Optical telescope, Hubble telescope, Lovell radio telescope, Chandra X-ray telescope, Spitzer infra-red telescope and COBE microwave telescope.
Instruments for observing very small objects include: Light microscope, Electron microscope, Scanning Probe Microscope, X-ray crystallography, Atomic emission spectra detector and the Large Hadron collider at CERN.
Recent advances in medical imaging techniques include: CT scan, PET scan, MRi Imaging and Diffusion Tensor.
Old brass microscope