Science: Fine Work

The toughest job a highbrow machinist can tackle is to make a diffraction grating. The end result does not look like much: just a piece of glass coated with a film of aluminum in which thousands of microscopic lines are ruled. But when light hits such a grating, it separates into a brilliant spectrum that is far more useful for most scientific purposes than the spectrum formed by prisms. The closer the lines, the more the spectrum tells about the light that hits it, so scientists are always demanding finer & finer gratings from the machinists.

Last week the Bausch & Lomb...

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!