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In an interview yesterday afternoon Louis C. Graton, professor of Geology, described the new, giant microscope which he and Ernest B. Dane, Jr. '27, research associate in Geology, have perfected.
The mammoth microscope, weighing nearly one ton, is constructed on the latest slow-motion, focusing principle. Working like the world's largest telescope in reverse, it focuses by remote, electrical control.
Professor Graton's instrument magnifies distinctly 6000 diameters, four times more than the theoretical limit of clear definition. In fact, it goes beyond this more dimly and sees down to 100 atom diameters, about as close to the limits of infinite smallness as the seeing limits of the 200 in. telescope will be to the outer edges of creation.
50,000 diameters can be magnified dimly by the mammoth machine, but its chief value lies in its 4000 to 6000 diameter work. Here it has picked up flecks of gold so small that 40 billion of them would be worth only one cent.
Control Optical Parts
"The reason that we have been able to get such excellent results," said Professor Graton, "is that we have a better control over the optical parts. Although using no new principal, we now have these optical parts working at their best. Our machine is more massive than ever before to give stability."
Professor Graton, who has "been at it a lifetime," declined to give the cost of the colossal instrument other than to intimate that it was very expensive.
"I have been almost chased into the corner by newspapers," he revealed, adding jokingly, "If I had known about this publicity I never would have allowed that article in the Journal of the Optical Society of America to be printed."
Professor Graton admitted that he was somewhat doubtful at first as to the true value of his microscope, but after seeing the great success of his second, similar machine in the Canadian department of mines at Ottawa, he felt more confident.
Can Be Improved
"I know it can be improved," said Professor Graton. We hope it will never be completely perfected, and have built it so that it can be improved and will not be "sewed up." All adjustments are built so change can be made. Any possible form of illumination or camera equipment can be used. We are now at work on fundamental additions."
Designed for metallurgical work in the Harvard laboratory of mining geology, the new microscope will take advantage of new metal polishing methods that help to make mineral partcles visible
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