Science: Light & Life

The kids of atomic Oak Ridge, Tenn. (which swarms with children) were busy this week on a new enterprise: collecting fireflies for Dr. Bernard L. Strehler of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Strehler wants 100,000 lightning bugs and will pay 25¢ a 100 for living, healthy specimens.

When Dr. Strehler finally gets his fireflies collected, they will not be allowed to sparkle for long. He intends to detach their luminous posteriors and extract from them luciferin—a substance which fascinates many scientists.

Luciferin (an enzyme or organic catalyst) is responsible for the firefly's...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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