Science: Portrait of a Molecule

The biggest molecule known to man* is much too tiny to be seen, even under a microscope. But X rays and photography can make molecules dimly visible. Dr. Maurice L. Huggins, a chemist at the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories, has produced this rare phenomenon—a photograph of a molecule (see cut).

The molecule, magnified nearly 100,000,000 times (its actual size: one forty-millionth of an inch), is hexamethylbenzene, an organic compound derived from coal tar. Its design, deduced from its chemical behavior, has long been pictured in chemistry books as follows:

Dr. Huggins' photograph confirmed the...

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