50, 100 and 150 Years Ago; April 1994; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
APRIL 1944 In seven years the Armour Foundation has grown from a name and a good idea into one of the most important institutions of its kind in the United States. The 'good idea' was to provide an industrial research service for the particular benefit of small business. Today the foundation is 100 percent devoted to war products. But its director is free to make some predictions about the future. One of these concerns 'radio cookery,' an outgrowth of diathermy and 'artificial fever' treatment. He prophesies that we shall have electronic cooking as a generally accepted commercial practice, but doubts its use in the home because of the hazard of high voltage. One commercial company has already perfected a thermal radio hamburger and hot-dog vending machine. The customer drops a coin into a slot, and after half a minute a radio-cooked morsel pops out.
Recently, Dr. James Hillier of RCA Laboratories announced the preliminary development of a fundamental tool to which he gave the name electron microanalyzer. Its function, he said, was the elemental analysis of extremely small areas within electron microscope specimens. With this instrument, the user can study a specimen already so microscopic that it must be magnified thousands of times in order that its details may be seen at all. It is possible to select one local area or perhaps a particle no larger than 1/100,000 inch in diameter and as small in weight as 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 gram, and determine exactly which chemical elements that one sub-microscopic area or particle contains.