Things that are much smaller than you always thought

Inspired by L. Nemo’s “Bigger” thread.

Plymouth Rock. It’s more like Plymouth Paving Stone.

My list:

[li]Molecules: there are more water molecules in a glass of water than grains of sand on Earth (to a reasonable approximation)[/li][li]**Atoms **(which make up molecules, of course)[/li][li]Atomic nuclei (each of which make up most of the mass of an atom, but are several orders of magnitude smaller in volume)[/li][li]Protons and neutrons (which atomic nuclei are comprised of)[/li][li]Electrons: however small you think electrons are, they’re even smaller than that.[/li][/ul]

Civil War battlefields. I’ve only been to a few, but they were smaller than the campus of the local elementary school. A couple of them were the about the size of a football field. It’s hard to believe they could even set up two lines with enough land in the middle to fight over.

And thinking more macroscopically, I would say the Mona Lisa.

When I first saw it, I thought, “That’s it?” Of course, the painting was also likely overwhelmed by the crowd surrounding it, the security (and bulletproof glass), and the fact that you are required to view it from a distance.

Oooh, good one! I’ve not been to the Louvre, but recently ran across some illustrative pics of how small the ML is – it sure wrecked my imagination of the portrait being, at the very least, poster-sized.

A pterodactyl. Only three feet wingspan!

But there were other much larger pterosaurs, with wingspan over 30ft.

Stonehenge. It would fit in my yard with room to spare.

The Colosseum in Rome. In photos it looks huge, and I always imagined it being about as large as a modern NFL stadium. It’s actually about half that size.

Like I said in the other thread, Mt. Rushmore. It doesn’t do photos justice.

Elephants. When I’m around one, I think yeah, it is big, but not that big. (My mental image is probably contaminated by dinosaurs.)

For my 2nd-grade self, it was dinosaur fossils. Our teacher took us to the Smithsonian and showed us. I asked if they were babies, since dinosaurs were supposed to be as big as skyscrapers (my mental image was contaminated by namesake).

The Alamo. It’s not a big cathedral. It’s about the size of a suburban split-level.

How big is the basement?

Similarly, I saw the original of Dali’s The Persistence of Memory for the first time recently and was surprised how small it is.

New Hampshire’s late great much lamented Old Man of the Mountain, even before it fell down. My parents took me several times when I was a kid. From the way people were talking about how impressive they thought it was, I assumed it was supposed to be the whole side of the mountain that was shaped like a face, and I just couldn’t see it. It was on my third or fourth trip there that I realized I was supposed to be looking at this teeny tiny little outcropping of rock halfway up the mountain. I calculate that from the viewing spot on the far side of Profile Lake, it subtended an angle of about one degree. In other words, about the size of the tip of your pinky held at arm’s length. Big whoop.

Making a big thing out of it would have been a good idea.

The Alamo we see today is just a single building that’s left from what was a larger complex back at the time of the battle.

What gets me about the Alamo is how you expect it to be out in the country. It’s actually right in the middle of downtown San Antonio, surrounded by office buildings that tower over it. Even back in 1836, it was a good-sized town.

That seems a curious reaction, the main stones are over 20 feet high 50+ tons and the the whole thing is 100 metres across. What size were you expecting for a 5000 year old stone circle?

Manneken Pis is tiny.

About as big as “your big ‘but’.”

Lots of historic or famous locations. In my case, the one which didn’t so much bring home as punch home how much camera work is involved in making a place look impressive was Rockefeller Center.

It’s fountain-sized.