Scientific Instruments
Our human senses are limited. Especially for science our sense of vision is very limited. Much of the world and the universe is either too far away or too small for us to observe with our naked eyeballs. As we so often do, we overcome our limitations with tools (ah, technology). In 1609 when Galileo capitalized on centuries of experimentation with glass optics by popularizing a practical telescope; he not only provided something that extended the human sense of sight but also opened new worlds for us to discover – the very small and the very far away.

We’re still at it, producing the tools – scientific instrumentation – to help us extend our senses into realms that we could previously only imagine. Today we can ‘see’ billions of years into the past through powerful instruments such as the Kepler and Hubble Space Telescopes. We can also see the the incredibly small, down to the very molecules and atoms that make up our physical universe. Through many kinds of scientific instrumentation such as chromatography, tomography, and spectrometry (usually supported by computers) we explore our bodies, the chemistry of life, and many other things that are mostly unavailable to our normal senses. Inventions and improvements in scientific instrumentation frequently have major impact on research, technology in general, and ultimately may help to solve scientific mysteries and practical problems.