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from us.

It is not lirdevmt to recall that before the war


the S b & r d , Texas, and Gulf c m p i e s were allies of
such great Nazi concerns as I. G . Farben against &e
A,nglo-Dutah oil and rubber conhimtiom.Thiskind
of d-Brikish kdk plap beautifully into German hands.
he kind of thinking the Senate has done in &is

fidd ia

idiated by the T m n reports discussion of


tihe role g o v m t should play in the Arabian develop-

ment. Government ownership of foreign oil mcessimq


the report says, would pmuppase a radical ahmlge in
our economic system, while pa&d government ownership . . , might discourage private enterprise. Did
Britain become a socialist c o w when GhumhilJ h~
1913, under h i l a r ci,rcum.stances, k i s t e d an ahnhing
for the Bribish government majority control of the s t o c k
of the Anglo-Persian Oil Ccxmlpany!

Atoms at Work
BY ORLANDO ALOYSIUS BATTISTA
URING the p a t decade or two scientists have
literally exploded the atom and in so doing have
brought tolight
many phenemenal universes
never dreamed of before. By a rather simple calculation,
if you know how to make ~ t ,t can be shown that bhe
air whi& m p i e s the fmger space in a thimble contains
at least thirty b1Flmn molecules. If all the docks in the
world were kept wound up, it would take them a hundred centuries or more to tidc out the number of atoms
in a single dmmp of rain water. If you were able to count
the a t o m on the surface of 0 speck of dust which could
be seen ody under a miuoucope, you would find they
nmlbered ni1,lions. So when we balk a b u t atoms we are
talking about infinitesimally small particles of matter,
particles so small that man wi!l never be able to see them
no matter how powerful he may build his microscopes.
Fifty years ago these atoms were looked upon by the
worlds foremost scientists as hard, discrete, indivisible
particles of matter which formed the building bricks of
evgrphing in the universe. But the concapt of the &mcture of matter that had held sway for some twentyfive centuries crumbled into myth when such men as
Thomson, Rutherford, Lawrence, and a host of others
published the results of their researches. Today we know
with the certainty that comes from reliable experimental
evidence that each little atom is a veritable universe in
itself, having a sun-llke nucleus at its center and many
planetary electrons-unitsof
pure electricity-whirling
about this core at speeds exceeding those of m y planets
in theirorbits.
The discovery of the atom universes with their incredibIe rides was speeded up by the invention of an American scientist, Ernest Odando Lawrence. A liltftle more
&
a
n ten years ago Professor Lawreace succeeded in producing a powerful atomsmashing machine, called a
C$otron, which already has opened up dozens of new
avenues of scientific research. More than forty of these
machines are now in existence, most of them in the

United States. The originalone is at Charter Hill in


Berkeley, California, where its inventor, with the aid of
a capable group of associate scientists, hopes to use it to
reveal even greater marvels in the hidden world of the
atom. The Charter Hill Cyclotron is so powerful that it
will be able to produce invisible electric bdleits proFlled by more than 100,000,000 volts and traveling at
a speed in excessof 50,000 miles a second. Thqpenetratmg power of the accelerated electrical particles
will be so intense that they could be made to cut through
steel very much as a knife cuts through butter. T h e scientists who run this monster have to operate it by remote
control in rooms 150 feet distant.
A glance at a few of the momentous discoveries made
by our atom-srn&hing scientists delving into tnabtef
with electric rays instead of microscopes shows the possiblllties of fur,ther work in this field. We know now, for
example, that all mtter, even the armor-plateon OW
battleships, is literally full of holes. It has been proved
beyond question that 99.9 p e r cent of the mass of all
matter is concentrated at a mathematical point in the
center of each ztom universe. This leaves so much free
space inside the atom that the core, which contains all
the weight, may be compared to an orange suspended in
the center of Radio City Music Hall. The human body is
so full of empty spaces that if we removed all of them
from Joe Louis he would shrink to the size of an aspirin
tablet.
But smashing the atom has brought forth a lot mre
than this amazmg fact. N u d m physicists can bombard
an atom of mercury and change it into gold, an a t a n of
magnesium and change it into s o d i m . In addition to b
ing able to make new elements almost at wdl-thcrugh
in relatively minute quantities at the present time-scientists can bombard &a atoms of some of ouz most inexpensive salts wibh extremely fast electrically charged or
neutral blts of matter and obtain what are known as
radloactlve salsts. These salts are of great value in medicine, for they are as effedive as radlum m curing certain

tidignan,t diseases. Their rays are as patent as radims,


but &hey give them off for only a few days, whereas radium wlll contlnue to give off powtrful radiations for
aenhies. For this Ieason the artificially produced radioactive salts are more pradical to use &
a
n radium, besides
being far less expensive.
An important field of radioactive research today is
concerned with the questfor speciiic radioactive salts
that u e not harmful and that will
allocatethemselves
selectively in cancerous parts of the human body. Since
it L known that canceroustissue can be destroyed by
means of carefully controlled exposure to radioactivity,
the possibility of disptching into variouspartsof
the
human body tracer bullets short-lived in their potency
and capable of destroying diseased tissues seledively is
a goal whose achievement w d d be invaluable to medical science.
when iodine that has been made radioactive is taken
internally, it collects in the thyroid gland,a tendency that
has enabled us to learn most of what we know about the
workings of this vitally important gland. Radioactive
calcium a
c
c
u
m
u
&
l in the body in exactly the same manner t
u calciumwhlchis not radioactive; with its aid it
has been demonstrated h a t even when o w teeth are fully
developed they continue to absorb calcium from the food
we eat. A speck of radioactive iron put in &e food eaten
by a cow enables us to see that in ten minutes time the
Iron is present in the cows milk. By putting radioactive
substances in sdutionzr or s d upon whi& plan& depend for their nourishment, M s b have gained an
intelligent insight into the complicated synthesisbywhich
a plmt convertswater
and sunlightinto sugars and
staxehes. When &e element p r i m is d e radioactive
it can be used to deteot flam in babbleship aprnor. Of
course, &e reason theseradioactivemateriais
can be
used to suah great advantage is that they give thenuelves
away by the radiations they are constantly sending out.
Rxkrerndp sensitive eleatrossopic detedom have been developed whim permit s c i d t s to chart their mutes
Pacuratdy.
The atom also offers us unlimitedstores of energy.
Physicists haveauthoritatively proclaimed that there is
enough usefulenergy locked up in a jug ofwater to
furnish more than a billion kilowatt-hours of electpic
power. The extraction of energy from the atom has up to
now been accomplished only in a very small way. T h e
difficulties to be overtome in this field of atomic utility
w far mre o M n a t c than those encountered in adapting radioactive substances for usu in medicine, biochem-

kry,or genetics. Nevertheless, there is definite promise


that some day it will be p l b l e to extrack and control
atomic energy.
Thus &e remmhble work of a&t
scientis,ts is bene&g mankind in a rhousand ways, and &e u p r q

factLhtth&workhasdykgur.h

In the Wind

UMBER, PLEASE ! The commandant of an a m y


camp tried to telephone an officer at his home in B
nearby community. The officers phone was on a three-party
line, and for half an hour the commandant got nohlng but ,
busy signals. Finally h e called the operator and asked if
something couldnt be done about it. After all, hesald,
1t isnt such a long distance. I could walk there in half nn
hour. Okay, Bud, replied the operator, get walkin.

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT has taken official cognizance of the servant problem. The London Daily MdiL
reports &at Mr. Bevins office is going into the matter and
will probably make recommendations BS to minimum wages
and maximum hours.
PHONOGRAPH-RECORD COLLECTORS tell us they are
no longer allowed to do any internahonal swapping. It seems
that somerecordshave
unintelligible backgroundnoises
which the authoritla fear might possibly be code messages.
GEORGIAS SUPREME COURT bas declined for the second tima to review an examination on the basis of which
the State Board of Bar Examlners has refused to recommend
a license for George Hlmer Ross, a Negro. The law requlres
the board to recommend llcenses for all who pass its examinations. Mr. Ross, a graduate of the University of Chicago
Law School, insists that he made more than a passing grade.
In refusing to look at the evidence, the c o u r t held that bhe
board is h e sole judge of grades and that there is no appeal
from its decisions.

SEVENTEEN LIVES WERE LOST when the steamer


Northern went down a year ago. The Union Steamship
Company, owner of the ship, wasrecently tried and found
guilty of providing insdcient lifeboat accommodations. The
penalty Wao d. fine of $100.

THE QUALITY of the news broadcasts of

the Nazi-controlled Paris radfo is indicated by this lteml Alvarez del


Vayo-typical representative of those Soviet-minded pohtic i a n s who led Spain to her Calvary-has been in Casablanca
since January 11. The st& of The Nation wonderswho
b a t man is who comes into the office everyday. He looks,
talks, bhhks, and wrltes exactly like AIvatez del Vayo.

FESTUNG EUROPA: German reserve officers employed as


supervisors in Belgianfactorieshave been recalledto Germany for active service . . Severalmembers of Vidkun
for IlstenQuislings private bodyguardhavebeenarrested
ings to news broadcasts from Lmndon. . . The greatness of
&ha Nazi soul wsd recentlydemonstrated in Holland when
a quarrel over precedence between two officials of the Dutch
Chamber of Culture made it necessq to hold two formal
openings of an exhibition.

[Wsinvite our renders t o submit malerial for In the Wind


e i h r clippings with source and d d s or stories that cau
6 2 t!mrly authenticated. A prize of $3 will be muarded each
m4rit.J
;I?
b=r/ ~~W.---E-DITORS THE NATION.)
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