Atom Isolated and Photographed

A British-born physicist announced yesterday [May 20] he had succeeded in achieving one of science’s ultimate dreams—isolating and photographing a single atom. The scientific breakthrough was made by Professor Albert V. Crewe, assisted by two graduate students, Joseph Wail and John Langmore, at the University of Chicago two months ago with the aid of a scanning electron microscope which Dr. Crewe designed and built with funds supplied by the Atomic Energy Commission. Dr. Crewe displayed photographs of single uranium and thorium atoms, magnified a million times, at a press conference. They were the result of six years’ research and expenditure of between $750,000 (Rs. 56,25.000) and one million dollars (Rs. 75.00.000). The technique devised by Dr. Crewe enables a single atom of these metals to be seen within a molecular structure for the first time. With further research the technique “will provide a tool for investigating the materials of biological processes and enable biologists to proceed more rapidly in the techniques of studying biological cells, such as cancer and other cells,” he said.

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