Science: Squeezing & Shearing

If three 240-ton locomotives were piled one on top of the other and their combined weight rested on a postage stamp, the resultant pressure would be some 1,440,000 lb. per sq. in. Such a pressure, Harvard University announced last week, has been produced in its physics laboratories by stocky, soft-spoken Percy Williams Bridgman and maintained for 15 hours on a speck of graphite as big as a pinhead.

That was a special experiment. For routine high-pressure work Dr. Bridgman uses about half the maximum, working up to 720,000 lb. and then down...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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