Seeing the Invisible

Human beings have been trying to figure out the elementary composition of the universe since the era of ancient Greece. Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher, created atomic theory. In the atomic theory, everything is composed of “atoms” (from the Greek meaning “can’t be cut”) and these atoms are physically indivisible.1 The ancient Greeks speculated on …

The Atomic Difference Between Diamonds and Graphite

Everything is made of atoms. Usually these atoms are strongly connected to one another, in an amazing variety of configurations. But atoms are so tiny, how can we possibly understand the structure of matter at the atomic level? You probably have seen pictures of molecules or materials, zoomed in to the atomic level, which show …

What’s the Difference between Magnification and Resolution? Dog of Science Demonstrates.

Seeing small objects is no simple task, but it is an essential one for scientists from fields as diverse as astronomy and nanotechnology.  In order to see tiny things, we need to both magnify them and keep their fine details apparent. Which is more important, raw enlarging power or precise detail?To help me explain, I …

Zooming in on the Nano World: Limitations and Breakthroughs in Light Microscopy

The idea that an image is worth a thousand words applies just as much in science as it does in other contexts. Using images, scientists can convey complex information more quickly and often more clearly than is possible using words—which do you prefer: words (left) or a picture (right)? Today I want to talk about …