Science: Exploring the Far Frontier

Half buried under a thick shell of earth and concrete in Cambridge, Mass., a great ring-shaped machine went into operation last week, humming softly while green lines measuring its power drifted across the face of an oscilloscope. Called the Cambridge Electron Accelerator, the machine cost $12 million (paid by the Atomic Energy Commission), is 236 ft. in diameter, and consumes enough electricity at full power to operate 40 medium-sized TV stations. Its practical use is nil. It will never freshen sea water, cure cancer, or solve any other specific problem of applied science. But in the hands of Harvard and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!