Seeing is believing

On the Kardashev scale, our civilization ranks at zero. That does not sound all that good, especially given that the scale starts at 1. Alright, now…

Actually, I would like to focus on something that is not exactly obvious to most people: We perceive more than our own senses can tell us.

We could choose any old sense as an example. Smoke detectors smell, what they can smell, better than we do. Microphones hear better than we do. Some surfaces we build react to touch more sensitive than we do. All of these transmit what they sense to us in one way shape or form and on any level of complexity.

Most impressive to think of here is the sense of sight.

Electromagnetic transmittance, or opacity, of the Earth's atmosphere. Source:

Electromagnetic transmittance, or opacity, of the Earth’s atmosphere. Source:

Look at the picture above. The image shows the spectrum of colours (the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation) our atmosphere absorbs, and to which degree it does so. Our eyes see the wavelengths marked as visible light. That is not very much now, is it?

Still, we know all of those colours anyway. We can even analyse them to a degree which makes it possible for us to understand many of the processes in the universe.

I do not really care about the Kardashev scale, if I may be honest. It is the real sign of our intelligence as a biological species that we have invented tools which enable us to burst out of the shell of our own senses.

Think about it.

11692568_786977204756800_3044591635946855095_nAlexander is a physicist, teacher and science communicator who is currently working at the Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education at Andøya Space Center in Norway. Even though, in his case, work and play do overlap, the content on this webpage is entirely private. You can follow Alexander on Twitter, Facebook and Google +


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