Making the invisible visible

12_35 Keck I primary mirror

Kecks, cleared



Over the last few years I have done several films about technologies that render fuzzy images clear. For example, a couple years ago I did a film about Jerry Nelson, the engineer/physicist that led the building of the Keck telescope in Mauna Kea. His great insight was that big telescopes need not be built from a single piece of glass. Professional astronomers use large mirrors to collect the light of distant stars. Nelson reasoned that technology could be used to knit a honeycomb of mirrored tiles into one gigantic mirror. Once he figured out how to make the giant tiling of smaller mirrors act like one huge one, he used another technology previously used by the military to clean up images – adaptive optics.

Over the next few months I will be working on stories for some partners on other scientists who have found ways to make the microscopically invisible visible. So check back for updates!

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