Faster Than Lightning My Autobiography
Man tried increasing the length of this wirebridge across which we had to pass, but wehad no difficulty in making our way along.But you must not run away with the ideathat we rush along the wire with lightningspeed. Although we can fly through theæther at a prodigious speed, our progress[Pg 71]from atom to atom in a wire is more like asnail-pace. As a matter of fact, our rate ofmarch is much less than the walking pace ofa man; indeed it may be stated convenientlyas so many yards per hour.
Faster than Lightning My Autobiography
It may interest you to note that we canproduce those signals far faster than mancan read them. When man found this outhe took advantage of our powers. He madean automatic transmitter which could manipulatethe make-and-break of the battery currentfar more rapidly than any human fingerscould do. Then as we rapped off the signalswith lightning speed at the distant end, heattached a little ink-wheel to the end ofthe moving lever, so that it could mark shortand long strokes on a ribbon of paper passingclose to it. Although man could notdis[Pg 92]tinguishthe signals by his ear he was ableto read the record of those we caused tobe left upon the paper ribbon.
The point concerning which I wish to speakin particular is this. Although we allow theæther waves to pass through such substances,we do offer some slight resistance to the passageof the waves; the faster the to-and-fromotion of the waves, the more resistance do[Pg 152]we offer. That is why the waves of highestfrequency are bent farthest from the straightline when passed through a glass prism.We actually force the æther waves to travelslower through a piece of glass than throughthe air.
I have questioned a fellow-electron whoescaped from a radium atom as to whatupset their equilibrium, but I find that hedoes not know, or he pretends not to know.All he has told me is that he was flung offsuddenly from within the atom with greatenergy, for he had been revolving at atremendous speed. In his sudden flight hepassed some newly formed helium atoms,which contained many of those electronswho had been his co-partners in the formerradium atom. Being an electron, he wastravelling at a far greater speed than theseflying atoms of matter, but he assures me[Pg 189]that these helium atoms were going fasterthan atoms can travel under any other circumstances. 041b061a72