By Julie Lundgren
Early Readers find out about diversified Animal Habitats.
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Well, imagine that you are shrunk like Alice in Wonderland to the size of an insect. One way of thinking about the change of scale is that what used to look like a centimeter now looks like perhaps a meter to you, because you’re so much smaller. If area and volume scaled according to most people’s intuitive, incorrect expectations, with 1 m2 being the same as 100 cm2, then there would be no particular reason why nature should behave any differently on your new, reduced scale. But nature does behave differently now that you’re small.
The thinking part of your brain limits itself to general directives such as “walk faster,” or “don’t step on her toes,” rather than micromanaging every contraction and relaxation of the hundred or so muscles of your hips, legs, and feet. Physics is all about the conscious understanding of motion, but we’re obviously not immediately prepared to understand the most complicated types of motion. Instead, we’ll use the divide-and-conquer technique. We’ll first classify the various types of motion, and then begin our campaign with an attack on the simplest cases.
Half size Consider the square in the interior of the panel of the full-size violin. In the 3/4-size violin, its height and width are both smaller by a factor of 3/4, so the area of the corresponding, smaller square becomes 3/4x3/4=9/16 of the original area, not 3/4 of the original area. Similarly, the corresponding square on the smallest violin has half the height and half the width of the original one, so its area is 1/4 the original area, not half. The same reasoning works for parts of the panel near the edge, such as the part that only partially fills in the other square.