From the March 12, 1932, issue


A new portrait of the girl-wife of that well-known Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamon, has been unearthed from the ruins of Tel-el-Amarna, where the Egypt Exploration Society has been excavating. The portrait is a beautiful little head, with exquisitely modeled features. It is less than 2 inches long.

Identity of the portrait has been settled with reasonable certainty by J.D.S. Pendlebury, who directed the excavations. Without hesitation, Mr. Pendlebury pronounced the face to be so closely like that of a woman on the back of a chair in Tutankhamon’s tomb that both must be the same character. The portrait on the chair is that of Tutankhamon’s wife.

The little sculptured head bears a startling likeness to the famous beauty Queen Nefertiti, it was also pointed out. This is added proof of the identity of the portrait, for Nefertiti was the mother of the princess who became Tutankhamon’s queen.


Cosmic rays, most piercing radiation known to man, have been produced artificially for the first time at the Physical Institute of the University of Giessen by Prof. W. Bothe and Dr. H. Becker. The process gains energy at the expense of the matter in the atom nucleus and thus realizes the old hope of tapping the energy of the atom.

Beryllium metal, bombarded with alpha particles from the radioactive element polonium, was in these experiments made to emit rays as penetrating as 14-million-volt X-rays so far unattained by man. The new rays are so penetrating that after passing through nearly 3 inches of iron, they have lost only a third of their intensity.

Previous experiments on the bombarding of atoms with alpha particles, which are helium atom nuclei moving at high speed, have resulted in the production of proton rays, the speeding hearts of hydrogen atoms. Artificial transmutation of the target atom nucleus into another chemically different element, had thus been attained by the loss of the hydrogen nucleus.

Drs. Bothe and Becker found, however, that beryllium gave off no protons when bombarded by alpha particles. The alpha particle entered the nucleus of the beryllium atom which at the same time emitted cosmic rays holding much more energy than the impinging alpha-particle projectiles.

Hitherto unknown carbon atoms of atomic weight 13 were thus formed from each of the beryllium atoms hit. This achievement constitutes a new type of transmutation of a chemical element. The process can be represented by an equation similar to those used to picture chemical reactions

Six of the light chemical elements, Drs. Bothe and Becker found, gave the artificial cosmic or hard gamma rays under the action of polonium alpha particles. These elements were: lithium, beryllium, boron, fluorine, magnesium, and aluminum. Of these, beryllium gave by far the most intense secondary rays and therefore was most suitable for experiments. Some of these elements also emitted proton rays.



The chemical process that scientists consider most essential to life on Earth and that so far has eluded the most penetrating and painstaking research is now yielding its secrets to Prof. James B. Conant of Harvard.

Prof. Conant is helping find how plants use sunlight to change the inert gas, carbon dioxide, plus water, into sugars and starches on which they live and grow. The key to his work is a new formula that he suggests for chlorophyll, the complex green substance that is instrumental in converting raw materials into plant food.

He described the formula when he was recently presented the Nichols medal of the New York section of the American Chemical Society in recognition of this work. Scientists have known for some time that each molecule of chlorophyll a, one of the two chlorophyll compounds, contains 55 carbon, 72 hydrogen, 5 oxygen, and 4 nitrogen atoms and 1 magnesium atom. Prof. Conant has worked out a formula like a crazy-quilt pattern, which shows how these atoms are joined together.

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