Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Magic Lantern

So there's this genius, Gaston Naessens, who built a self-propelled toy car when he was five, and later a little airplane. That's not so much. I designed a submarine when I was 9. But this guy is said to have built the phenomenal Naessens microscope, which "reaches magnification levels of 20,000 to 30,000 diameters -- well above the 2,500 diameter limit of conventional microscopes." Really? Sounds intriguing. Revolutionary, in fact. How could such a device work? And why isn't it as famous as, say, the electron microscope, of which we have actually heard?

"The Somatoscope mixes light from two orthogonal light sources -- a mercury lamp and a halogen lamp. The light from both sources enters a glass tube at 90 degrees from each other." OK. Light can enter tubes. Sounds reasonable so far. "As the light waves beat against each other, a strong carrier wave of light emerges and travels down the light tube." Well, the language might be a bit sloppy. I don't know that lightwaves "beat against each other" -- but they do interfere with each other, and can nullify or amplify their effect in classic wave behaviors. "As the light travels down the tube, it passes through a monochromatic filter which forms it into a monochromatic ray. The ray is then passed through a large coil that surrounds the tube." So it's reduced to a single color which then continues down past a coil of some sort. Interesting -- but to what end? "The coil's magnetic field divides the ray into numerous parallel rays that are then passed through a Kerr cell which increases the frequency of the ray before being injected onto the specimen."

Oh. Well that's sort of confusing. Is it even possible? There are magneto-optic effects, but does a magnetic field divide a single light ray into many light rays, that are parallel? Wouldn't that mean that a photon is divided into many parts? Or would the "ray" be divided by being that many times weaker -- the individual photons spaced that much farther apart? I don't know. It's beyond my competence. I enjoy science, but it's really the big picture that interests me, in all my pursuits. That's why I'm asking questions instead of giving conclusions.

Maybe a picture will help?

Two light sources: the first (1) an incandescent one with a wavelength of about 3600 angstrom, the second (2) an ultraviolet one with a wavelength of about 2200 angstrom beat against each other to produce a third wavelength of which passes through a monochromatic filter (3) to produce a monochromatic ray. This ray is exposed to magnetic fields (4)-the Zeeman effect- that divides tt to produce numerous parallel rays (5) that. In turn pass through a Kerr-cell (6) that increases the frequency. It is this light source, invisible to the naked eye, that strikes the specimen slides.

A little maybe. Not much. But it's not my field. Anyway, what's up with us never having heard of this modern marvel? Alas, Naessens' primary field of interest is in alternative medicine, and as we know, all true innovative genius are persecuted and hounded and slandered etc. by the entrenched medical profession. Except Freud, who after a few doubtful years was enthroned on Olympus. Even though he was completely wrong about virtually everything. In terms of actual testable results, I mean. The theories were really good. But why are you all of a sudden talking about Freud? Stay with me, please.

What, then, is the actual effect of all this manipulation of lightwaves? "The Somatoscope does not attempt to illuminate the specimen by passing light through two small objects. Instead, the illumination source is actually stimulating the specimen to the point where it generates its own light." That is possible, I suppose. I've been meaning to write about the phenomenon of bioluminescence -- not that of undersea organisms or cave creatures, but at the cellular level even in humans -- according to a Stanford study, some 500 photons per month, as I recall. I'll get around to it. Is that what we're reading about? Or is there imagined to be some effect of my old favorite, quantum mechanics, by which virtual photons are made manifest by dint of these magnetized rays? I couldn't say.

In any case, the "light itself expands as it moves outward and because the specimen itself is generating the light, the physical restrictions encountered by regular optical microscopes no longer apply. By converting the specimen into a light source, Gaston Naessens has converted the magnification problem from one of resolution to that of light detection! At magnification levels above 5,000 diameters, light levels drop off to the point that film is necessary, but the resolution is there." Hm. Sounds fishy to me. Sounds magical. But life is a miracle. What then is impossible?

With his wonderful microscope Naessens has observed in "the blood of animals and humans, and also in the sap of plants, an ultra-microscopic, sub-cellular, reproducing, and indestructible entity that he christened a somatid (tiny body). In healthy persons, the entity has a normal 3-stage cycle (somatid, spore, and double spore), but goes on to pass through a pleomorphic or form-changing 16-stage cycle in persons afflicted with degenerative disease." That's astounding. All biological life -- as contrasted to metaphysical life -- is by definition cellular. These somatids are sub-cellular, not cellular. Revolutionary.

I wonder if it's true.

Naessens was put on trial in Canada for charges brought by the medical establishment. Hm. We should remain neutral, and let the evidence speak for itself. The result was that Naessens was exonerated. That doesn't mean he's not a quack. As to that possibility, we have this:
  • "In 1964, Naessens agreed to a test of Anablast by Professor Pierre Denoix, Director of the Gustave-Roussy Institute at Villejuif, France. Denoix concluded that Naessens was mistaken in the premise on which [his cancer-curing] serum was based, and that an investigation of cases of cancer and leukemia treated with Anablast had proved that the serum had no therapeutic value. (In every allegedly successful case Denoix was able to investigate, the patient had first received standard therapy.) ...
  • "Denoix reported that the [somatid] particles he had seen were well known by hematologists to be products of red-cell disintegration. He also concluded that microorganisms that Naessens cultivated were the result of secondary contamination of the material studied."
Well that's just too bad. Seems to be a quack. And that would reflect badly on the functioning of his microscope. Alas, another bright hope, dashed.

Anyway, it all sounded a bit like alchemy, where a chemical process is supposed to create an atomic change. That would be something like trying to use a steam shovel to repair a watch. Different spheres of operation. But the analogy is flawed. Light operates at the level of light. If material can somehow be stimulated to produce its own light, then it does. Does it? Naessens is a quack. Whether or not he is a microscopistic genius remains obscure to me.

And then there's Wilhelm Reich, with his orgone. A topic for another day.

As for Nikola Tesla, did you know he invented a perpetual motion machine?


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