Seconds Split a Million Ways
Measuring the split flashes of time that are microseconds makes possible many modern miracles of science.
By Carl Dreher
IT TOOK you about one second, or 1,000,-000 microseconds, to read the title of this article. On that basis one microsecond may seem short enough to satisfy everyone, but to the modern electronics engineer it is a fairly long time. Describing a new electronic gadget, its inventor informs us that each dial division corresponds to 0.0132 microseconds; in other words, he is measuring down to a ten-thousandth of a millionth of a second.
That’s slicing it rather fine, but if it is worth a few dollars to you, you can buy a pulse generator that will deliver bursts of power adjustable down to 0.1 microsecond. You can order it from an advertisement-nothing special about itâ€”plug it into a wall socket like an electric iron, and you’re a member of the microsecond-splitting fraternity yourself. It’s economical to operate, tooâ€”consumes only 40 watts.
Scientists are still building ever more powerful particle accelerators. The Large Hadron Collider is supposed to come online this year and is expected to make some major discoveries. For comparison the most powerful accelerator at the time of this article was about 6 bev. Or 6 billion electron volts. The LCH will collide two beams each with 7 tev (trillion electron volts) making it about 20,000 times more powerful.
If you haven’t seen pictures of the ATLAS detector yet, you really should check them out. It really is an engineering marvel. Plus when it was being built it looked like some kind of trans-dimensional portal.
These Fabulous Tools Unlock the Atom’s Secrets
By Thomas E. Stimson, Jr.
THE RESEARCH TEAMS that discovered atomic energy are probing deeper into the heart of the atom today and there’s a good chance that other exciting, though unpredictable, discoveries will be made.
Basically, the physicists are trying to find the true fundamental particles of which the atom (and hence the universe) is composed.
Once it was thought that the atom itself answered this definition; now it is known that the atom contains a bundle of assorted particles or bits of energy in its structure.
Compton gives a nice history of the rise of American science and engineering prowess as well as making some pretty good predictions here.
Some answers to this question seem clear, and others seem very uncertain. It is safe to predict that the 2002 person will be clothed with synthetic textiles which will not fade, shrink or wrinkle and in which the desired creases will stay put. Atomic energy will be in use for special, but not for general, power purposes. Gasoline will be coming more from oil shale than from oil wells, and may be already produced commercially from coal. Cancer may then be as well under control as tuberculosis is now. Television may have proved to be an instrument to perpetuate dictatorship, or to make the democratic process more effective, depending on the trends of control and public concern.
Cancer is certainly not under control, though we do have much better treatments and shale oil is only now starting to take off but he nailed clothes, atomic power and TV.
As an aside; the design of this article is really nice, however, for people who are supposed to predict the future I wish the PM’s designers would have shown a little consideration for schmucks like me who have to scan their articles. Why didn’t they realize that putting an illustration of balloons behind the text of the article would play havoc with my already finicky OCR software? (Lest you think I’m picking on PM, Modern Mechanix also had a nasty habit of doing this.
SCIENCE ON THE MARCH
By Dr. Karl T. Compton
Chairman of the Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology THE AMERICAN TRADITION of mechanical skill and inventiveness, often called “Yankee Ingenuity,” goes far back of the turn of this century. It grew out of the challenge of pioneer life to a people of high native intelligence engaged in forging a new way of life in an environment of rich but undeveloped resources. But our development of scientific knowledge and its useful applications is, despite a few notable predecessors like Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Henry and Thomas Edison, essentially an achievement of the last 50 years.
Unfortunately this article was written about twenty years before Piltdown Man was revealed to be a forgery.
How Man-Apes Became Men
A Startling Human Chapter in the Story of LIFE . . . The World’s Greatest Mystery
DR. WILLIAM K. GREGORY famous scientist of the American Museum of Natural History, has explained the origin of the earth and of life; how we got our face and other bodily parts, and man’s descent from apelike ancestors. When our earth was about one billion years old, life appeared as little specks of jelly in primeval puddles. Growing into cell-groups, then wormlike creatures, and later into air-breathing fishes that eventually crawled out onto land, these early life germs gave rise to all animals and at last man. Last month, Dr. Gregory traced man’s descent from monkeylike forbears that lived in the trees more than ten million years ago, and explained why we are still monkeys.
Life Without Germs In a Laboratory
At the University of Notre Dame there are some laboratory animals living in a world apartâ€”a world without germs. Their world consists of a giant tank, large enough to hold 1000 animals, which has been made completely germfree. Attendants and scientists who must enter the tank to feed and examine the animals do so by diving through a germicidal solution. They also wear plastic suits and masks which completely enclose their bodies. The scientists hope to discover how much longer the animals will live if they are kept in a germfree atmosphere.
Science Takes the Measure of Man
Strange instruments are pointing the way to the shapes of tomorrow from hats to space cabins
By S. David Pursglove
FURNITURE for your future house, seats for next year’s cars, desks for new schools all are being designed by scientists who specialize in studying man’s past. The Air Force is leading the way and business and industry are following close behindâ€”in using anthropology to make clothing fit better, seats more comfortable and working conditions safer and more efficient. The Air Force started using anthropology, the science that led to reconstruction of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man, to design pressure suits and other space-age clothing and equipment.
PRACTICAL AND MYSTIFYING HOME TESTS YOU CAN MAKE WITH IRON
By Raymond B. Wailes
MYSTIFYING and spectacular ‘effects give a keen interest to home experiments with iron and its compounds. The amateur chemist can make paint, produce molten iron from a simple mixture, and perform many other stunts that show why iron is man’s most useful metal.
Iron betrays its presence everywhere. Our blood gets its red color from the iron it contains. Soils, clays, bricks, and stones are colored by the iron in the earth’s crust.
A handful of ordinary nails or tacks will serve as the starting point for the home chemist’s experiments. From them he can produce several interesting iron compounds.
And just last month, Columbia decided to get rid of the cyclotron.
Columbia Gets Cyclotron
Shown above is Columbia University’s new 150,000-pound cyclotron, the huge electrical apparatus which fires atomic “bullets” at a 25,000-mile-per-second speed to perform modern alchemy by changing one chemical element into another. Detailed study of nuclear forces, which are the ultimate forces that hold the materials of the universe together, will be one of the first tasks undertaken by Columbia physicists with the cyclotron.
It seems sort of obvious to us that South America and Africa fit together but I’m guessing that they just couldn’t believe that they could have spread that far apart.
Here is a good animation that shows the history of continental drift.
Scientists Find Traces of Two Lost Continents
DOWN through the ages, man has hung to the words of Plato. For Plato told of a great continent, Atlantis by name, which slipped under the waters of the sea, carrying with it an entire civilization.
Recent discoveries point to the fact that approximately 250,000,000 years ago, South America, Africa, India, Australia and a great portion of the Antarctic region were a single continent. Similar discoveries reveal the existence, until about the same period, of a North Atlantis, a sort of super-continent, which ran from the present western shores of North America to the British Isles, and possibly connected, by a few small peninsulas, with Europe.
“U-235″-Powerful New Fuel
That May Change the World
NEWLY discovered is a natural substanceâ€” a rare form of uranium known as “U-235″ â€”so powerful that one pound of it will give off as much energy as 3,000,000 pounds of gasoline or 5,000,000 pounds of coal! And if scientists can really harness enough of this substance and put it to work, human life may see a greater revolution than that caused by the steam engine.