When Galileo aimed his telescope at the heavens to observe and study the stars and planets, he changed the world forever. Great discoveries in science are often made with the help of great instruments. And new instruments lead to new discoveries. In our own time, we are witnessing a renaissance in telescope development, giving us a seemingly endless stream of spectacular images of all that makes up our universe. Huge rockets transported man to the moon and back. The inside of the human body is open to scrutiny without even the touch of a hand with the advent of computer-aided tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Automated sequencing machines are taking apart the human genome, laying bare the most intimate language of life, to be deciphered like an ancient language. Synchrotron X-ray data are used to determine the three-dimensional structure of a protein in just a few months, and new, powerful computers may soon calculate that structure from scratch. The scanning tunneling microscope allows us not only to see and contact the world of atoms, but to move atoms around and place them where we want. The electron microscope has given us a view of the microstructure of the material world, its symmetries and its defects. The largest and most costly scientific instruments uncover the structure of the sub-atomic world, with large international teams of scientists and engineers herding bursts of particles through miles and miles of tunnel.
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