CHAPTER 14Microscope, Telescope, or Mirror?

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

—Henry David Thoreau

When you look through a microscope, you can see the details. Electron microscopes can see down to the tiny structures of whatever is in the viewfinder. These powerful analytic devices can manipulate wavelengths of light and harness the power of the electron to provide the viewer with unique insights into previously unseen materials. Were it not for the invention of the microscope, our society would never have achieved the innovations we have in medicine and material sciences and other genuinely groundbreaking discoveries.

While the microscope sees tiny hidden items, a telescope looks ever onward and outward. The James Webb Telescope, or JWT as it's called at NASA, has the power to see the universe's formation. This fantastic technology is orbiting our sun, gathering infrared images via a six‐meter primary mirror. JWT will study every phase in the universe's history, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our solar system. This telescope can see beyond the formation of time as we know it and is already sending back detailed pictures of planets far beyond our solar system.

But do you know what both those fantastic tools contain that allows them to be so valuable? (Actually, I've given the answer already.)

Mirrors. Yes, telescopes and ...

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