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SCIENTIFIC USE OF THE IMAGINATION. 153

of its powers. Place this distilled water in the field of an
electro-magnet, and bring a microscope to bear upon it.
Will any change be observed when the magnet is excited ?
Absolutely none; and still profound and complex changes
have occurred. First of all, the particles of water are ren~
dered diamagnetically polar; and secondly, in virtue of the
structure impressed upon it by the magnetic strain of its
molecules, the liquid twists a ray of light in a fashion per-
fectly determinate both as to quantity and direction. It
would be immensely interesting to both you and me if one
whom I hoped to see here present,l who has brought his
brilliant imagination to bear upon this subject, could make
us see as he sees the entangled molecular processes involved
in the rotation of the plane of polarization by magnetic
force. While dealing with this question, he lived in a world
of matter and of motion, to which the microscope has no
passport, and in which it can oiIer no aid. The cases in
which similar conditions hold are simply numberless. Have
the diamond, the amethyst, and the countless other crystals
formed in the laboratories of Nature and of man no struct-
ure ? Assuredly they have; but what can the microscOpe
make of it ? Nothing. It cannot be too distinctly borne
in mind that between the microscope limit and the true
molecular limit there is room for infinite permutations and
combinations. It is in this region that the poles of the
atoms are arranged, that tendency is given to their powers,
so that when these poles and powers have free action and
proper stimulus in a suitable environment, they determine
first the germ, and afterward the complete organism. This
first marshalling of the atoms on which all subsequent ac-
tion depends bafi‘les a keener power than that of the micro-
scope. Through pure excess of complexity, and long be-
fore observation can have any voice in the matter, the most
highly-trained intellect, the most refined and disciplined

1 Sir William Thomson.

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