The interstellar roler-coaster ride of Powers of Ten does what the analogous sequence in 2011: A Space Odyssey should have: it gives the full impact – instinctual as well as cerebral – of contemporary scientific theories. … It popularizes (in the best sense of the word), post-Einsteinian thought the way the telescope popularized Copernicus; and the effect is almost as upsetting. The spectator is in perspectiveless space; there is no place where he can objectively judge another place. … the time-space traveler of Powers of Ten thinks of himself as a citizen of the universe, an unbounded territory. … Powers of Ten… concretizes a concept of the universe true to contemporary experience. And that ides is covetable.
paul schrader, ‚poetry of ideas: the films of charles eames‚ in film quarterly, spring 1970
Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago [Burnham Park], this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker – with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.