Science: Toward the Infinitesimal

Modern scientists have been able to study ever smaller particles of matter. Recently the pursuit of the infinitesimal reached a new vanishing point. An R.C.A. microphysicist developed an instrument which can analyze the atomic composition of a particle as small as a millionth of a billionth of a gram.

The inventor of this "electron microanalyzer" is a fledgling still in his late 20s, James Hillier, co-inventor of the electron microscope (TIME, Oct. 28, 1940). The general atomic composition of bacteria and viruses is well known—they are mostly carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen. But under high electronic magnification (100,000 times), bacteria often reveal granules...

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