Materials Quotes: 008

Ernst Ruska (Nobel Prize banquet speech, 1986):

… I had not intended to revolutionize electron microscopy. I was engaged as an engineer in the technical development of the cathode ray oscillograph. Dealing with a secondary problem of this work – the concentration coil for the electron beam – I encountered the possibility of imaging with electron rays.

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The picture is from the 1986 Nobel Prize announcement.

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Update: I would like to think that this quote is a pretty nice example of Osawa’s thoughts on ‘finding and the recognition of finding’.

In the same speech, Ruska also touches on ‘doubters’ who don’t quite see new things the way their discoverers and inventors do; unsurprisingly, Ruska chooses to focus on the silver lining on these frustrating clouds:

In electron microscopy, the difficulties took considerably more time to surmount [than in scanning tunneling microscopy], and therefore the doubters held the field for a longer period. I can, however, also confirm from my own experience the observation of my colleagues that the doubt of the others has the advantage of leaving the field uncrowded. Mostly, this is understood only much later, in the beginning one is very disappointed.


About Abi

My name is T. A. Abinandanan, and I am a professor of Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
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