Adventures In Lilliput

Extraordinary new laser tools and microscopes are enabling researchers to observe and manipulate a breathtaking microworld

Think small. Now think smaller still. For in the lilliputian wonderland that scientists have begun to explore, a grain of rice looms as large as an asteroid, a droplet of water as wide as an inland sea.

Using powerful new tools, biologists at the University of Chicago have gently sliced through a red blood cell to peer at individual protein molecules clinging to its inner membrane. At the California Institute of Technology, chemists have watched in wonder as a hydrogen atom romances an oxygen away from a carbon dioxide molecule. And at Stanford University, physicist Steven Chu has mastered techniques for...

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