Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Chapter 7, Eureka!

Mr. Featherstone stopped at the door; he placed his hand on a glowing stone by the doorknob. The stone dimmed as he touched it. He placed another hand on a stone a little higher, it went dim too. There was a click inside the door and Mr. Featherstone turned the knob, the door swung in.
Beswick entered the room, the walls were all glowing, just like the blocks in the stairway. He slowly scanned the room, all the walls were glowing, the ceiling too. It was as bright as daylight. Some glowed green, others were rainbow patterned. There were benches all over the room, some filled with chemical apparatus others were electrical, There were Jacobs' Ladders and Plasma globes. Giant electromagnets hung from the ceiling. In the corner was a large cylinder with a "Liquid Nitrogen" label on it.
Beswick was awestruck, he had never seen anything like this before.
"Sit down Master Beswick", Mr. Featherstone said. " We will have to go over some of the things in the laboratory before we get started."
Beswick was looking everywhere, each time he scanned the room something else revealed itself.
"The walls and ceiling are glowing!" Beswick exclaimed!
"Yes, that, well I wanted to save some money on lighting. Do you remember the books in the library, there was one called the Organic Flashlight."
Beswick nodded.
"The walls are covered in a form of algae, it produces light." The light colour is determined by the food they eat and the conditions they live in. If I want to change the colour of the light I can change the food they eat. Watch this." Mr. Featherstone took a spray bottle from the table and sprayed the contents onto a section of wall. "This bottle contains saline, a simple salt and water solution," As the saline touched the walls the glow turned from light green to a deep blue.
"I am still experimenting with this but it is a fascinating subject. Temperature food, humidity, all play a role. Feed and care for the algae and it will shine for you."
"WOW" Beswick exclaimed.
"WOW indeed" said Mr. Featherstone with a grin.
"I work on many experiments down here Master Beswick. Over in the corner I have been working on the properties of electricity and magnetism when super cooled. It seems that when they make electric motors for people in the real world they are not very efficient. If we can increase the magnetic fields we can get very powerful and efficient motors in small packages."
For the rest of the afternoon, Mr. Featherstone showed Beswick the lab, cautioning him on the dangerous elements and encouraging him to try things himself. All the while Mr. Biggles paced back and forth on the floor, brushing Beswick’s feet.
Mr. Featherstone showed Beswick how to make a report and log the results of the experiments. "There is no sense doing an experiment if you can’t prove the results" he said.
"Take a look at this report I have done on the growth of crystals in a magnetic field, this is the experiment that helped fix your spectacles."
Beswick looked at the papers; many of the words were too hard for Beswick to read.
Mr. Featherstone could see the frustration in Berwick’s face. "Let’s have a nice cold mug of root beer." He took two cans and poured them into mugs, then he took the mugs over the cylinder of liquid nitrogen. He opened a valve and sprayed the mugs, crystals of ice formed on the mugs. He smiled and placed the mug down on the table for Beswick. "Best let the mug climatize before you drink" he winked. "I think next time I will make some ice-cream for us, the texture of ice-cream made with the cooling properties of liquid nitrogen is the best you will ever have" he grinned.
"Maybe a float made from the ice-cream and this root beer" Beswick asked?
"That's what I like about you Young Master Beswick, you are always coming up with new ideas. I wonder why I never thought of that before" he mused.
Beswick sipped on the icy root beer as Mr. Featherstone explained the way he documented his data in the reports. There were still words that Beswick didn’t understand but that would come someday.
As they read the crystal reports Beswick got a better understanding of his new glasses, his mind drifted away as he thought about the countless possibilities for Mr. Featherstone’s discovery. He thought of repairing chips in windshields, making telescopes that would see more than man had ever seen before. He dreamed of microscopes like the ones he used at school and all the fascinating things he could discover with them.
"Beswick. Are you still with me here" Mr. Featherstone asked?
"Do you understand why we must document all of our experiments"?
"Er Yes! Mr., Featherstone" he replied.
"Good! Now I want you to look over these notes that I have taken on the Bioluminescence Projects I have been working on. I want you to fill out this report form. Just read through the notes, if you come across something you don't understand, let me know and I will help you. I am going to perform some more experiments and will document them as I go along."
Beswick nodded and took a pencil and the form; He read slowly through the notes, writing down the time the experiments were conducted, the conditions they were conducted under and the results of the experiments.
His mind started to whirl as he started to read the results of Mr. Featherstone’s work. He saw first hand how the algae changed colour based on the food, temperature and other conditions. Once again he started to drift away in his thoughts, hopping from cloud to cloud in his mind.
"Wow you could make lights anywhere, any colour" he thought.
"You could mix the algae together and make a huge TV! It could be any size!" He hopped onto another cloud. "You could make sunglasses that would change colour! You could make any colour look like any other colour.
You could correct colour blindness for people! I could put t he algae onto my new glasses and amplify any one colour, or all colours! "
"I wonder!" Beswick said out loud.
"You wonder what Master Beswick?" Mr. Featherstone asked.
"Oh nothing really." Beswick was a little embarrassed that he spoke out loud.
Mr. Featherstone got up from his experiment "I am glad you wonder Beswick. That is what separates the scientists from the rest of the people. Just what do you wonder?"
"I was just wondering what would happen if we put some of the algae onto my glasses, with the crystals" Beswick asked?
"Oh my, what a thought Master Beswick, what an incredible extraordinary thought!"