National Geographic: The Invisible World

Synopsis: Each moment, events take place that the human eye cannot perceive because these occurrences are too small, too large, too fast, too slow or beyond the spectrum of visible light. Witness ...
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Alex Pomansanof
57 min

With a microscope that filters

the direction of incoming light

the composition of the physical

world can be vividly explored

When a liquid transforms into

a solid-as

when water turns to ice-the

tiny crystals

that will form its structure

organize into shape

Recorded on film at actual speed

we can witness the other invisible

process known as crystallization

Seeing with a beam of electrons

rather than with light

a powerful new instrument called

the scanning electron microscope

has penetrated an uncharged level

of detail and size

For David Scharf, a researcher

and photographer

it is a means to explore a whole

new world of inner space

Though we seem to be leaving some

distant planet's surface

our voyage, in fact, is much

more contained

The cratered terrain we have left

behind is the surface of a moon rock

the size of a grain of sand

The fragile structure of an alyssum

flower is barely visible to the eye

In the vacuum chamber of

the microscope

a focused beam of electrons

will be aimed

across the flower's surface to

form a magnified image


Through the microscope's probing eye

the tiny flower reveals a delicate

structure of unexpected complexity

When magnified more than 20,000 times

we can see single grains of pollen

If we spy a little closer on the

intimate places we know

we might come to feel like strangers

in our own familiar world

Zigzags of rough-hewn channels

gouged into a surface

are a magnified view of

the narrow grooves

in an ordinary phonograph record

This barren, rutted terrain is not

as remote as it seems

It is the porous surface of the

tip of a ball-point pen

A tangled network of sinuous fibers

when enlarged 4,000 times

hardly resembles what we usually see

as a smooth sheet of writing paper

In the sofas and beds of even our

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    "National Geographic: The Invisible World" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Nov. 2020. <>.

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