From the December 2, 1933, issue


Seven million volts, mans closest approach to the voltage of natures lightning, flashed across the gigantic ball terminals of sciences greatest generator, erected by Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicists in Col. E.H.R. Greens airship hangar at Round Hill, Mass., and operated Tuesday for the first time at so great an electrical potential.

Sparks 40 feet long were sent arcing between the two huge metal spheres of the generator. Though the 7 million volts achieved is three times the highest direct current potential heretofore attained, it is less than the generators full designed voltage by 3 million volts. A full voltage test was not attempted because high winds prevented taking the machine into the open, but the designer feels confident that 10 million volts will be produced on the first outdoor test.

This is the opening report in an investigation of some of the most important and fundamental of natures secrets, and it may have far-reaching consequences in even the commercial generation of electric power.


Cosmic rays are probably the hearts of atoms of ordinary matter, positively charged by the action of starlight on interstellar gas and accelerated in some cosmic or possibly terrestrial electric field.

Ten thousand observations of cosmic ray intensities just completed in Panama and Peru and earlier studies in this country and Mexico have led Dr. Thomas H. Johnson of the Franklin Institutes Bartol Research Foundation in Swarthmore, Pa., to this conclusion, which is contrary to other theories of cosmic ray formation.

Using a sort of cosmic ray “telescope” that “sees” on a motion picture film only the cosmic rays that pass through three-in-line Geiger-Mueller counting devices and set off in them simultaneous electrical pulses, Dr. Johnson has now definitely established that the western sky is “brighter” with cosmic rays than the eastern sky. If our eyes could see the cosmic ray corpuscles as they do the waves of ordinary visible light, they would see more cosmic ray light in the west. This difference in cosmic ray brightness between the east and west is also greater at higher elevations and nearer the magnetic equator.

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