The electron microscope, a product of radio and television research, has made it possible to "magnify" objects immensely more than by any use of light. This is interestingly demonstrated by the recent studies of Drs. Seymour and BenMosche, made with the aid of one of these instruments, on human spermatozoa and published in the J.A. M. A. To say that the magnification was 13.500 diameters means nothing to the reader; but the picture below had to be pieced together from three standard size photographs to get on it one object too tiny to be seen with the naked eye.
Spermatozoon, pieced together from three photographs. It is really not over 1/250 of an inch long.
Magnification of this by 10,000 means that it is shown a trillion times life size. The hundred billion chromosomes of the next human generation could be packed in an aspirin-size tablet.
The conclusions so far reached are that the spermatozoon has a much longer tail, gradually fading out, than could before be seen; that its head has a depression at the top like a "suction cup" (though air pressure would amount to nothing, on this small scale) which is probably for the purpose of aiding, in some way, its entrance into the ovum; that it has some kind of covering, which bulges around the neck, as shown in the picture at the upper right; that the middle does not contain a spiral, as often sketched, but segments, 9 to 12 of them, whose jointing probably increases the mobility. The "neck," it is now suggested, deserves the name of "body." The head is opaque to the electrons, which act somewhat as do X-rays, passing through an object to be photographed with this apparatus.