Never quite a passive observer

Jim Webster


Back when I was between O levels and A levels (probably around ’71 or ’72) we were encouraged to borrow books out of the libraries of the various science labs at the Grammar school to read over the holiday. I borrowed two from the physics lab.

One was slim and seriously cutting edge. What had attracted my attention was the scanning electron microscope photos of various metal crystals. They were seriously fascinating and bizarre. The other was a more general textbook. I’m not sure why I picked it up but I did. When I dutifully sat down to read it there was a whole heap of boring stuff about mechanics and simple machines and suchlike. I confess to skipping them, except for the illustrations which were of a quality we’ll never see the like of again. The book must have been nearly a century old.

Then I came to the…

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