Atoms in motion
May 5, 1880. A reporter from the San Francisco Call nearly went nuts when seeing Eadweard Muybridge's latest invention: the zoopraxiscope (watch video above).
'After two years deconstructing the movement of animals with his pioneering freeze-frame photographic sequences, he was now able to reconstruct that motion to make a life-size horse trot across a big screen' - [read more here]
Back then it was amazing to see 'real life'-motion on a screen. I mean, wow, what's next. Well, better screens, and color, and higher-definition and faster motion etcetera. The ability to capture nature's movement on a screen, that's what it is all about. But since many things in nature are much smaller than the eye can meet, mankind came up with microscopes. So we can zoom in, and see what's going on. Up to now however, we haven't been able to build a microscope powerful enough to capture the movements of individual atoms...
And there we go: Now Ahmed Zewail, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, has developed a way to do just that. Zewail's research team can generate movies showing the picosecond (millionths of a millionth of a second) motion of atoms.