Ch. 7: Shade of Ballantine Hannay

Ch. 7: Shade of Ballantine Hannay Page of 303 Ch. 7: Shade of Ballantine Hannay Text size:minus plus Restore normal size   Mail page  Print this page
THE SHADE OF J. BALLANTINE HANNAY                      241
and loses its charge, becoming negative, so it is pulled toward the upper electrode, which is positive. The attraction carries it past the area of the field, and it falls into the reject bin. But the diamonds, not being good conductors, don't lose their charge so quickly to the earthed electrode. They are still posi­tive, and so they are not attracted by the positive electrode, but are repelled before they pass out of the field. Instead they fall short of that upper electrode, into another bin, and there you are."
Now he paused and waited for me to catch up. I said, "But that only works if you have non-conductive diamonds, didn't you say so?" He nodded. "And so-----" I began.
He cut in and finished for me. "And so," he said, smiling, "you lose your 2-B diamonds. That is true, but we've only just found it out."
In London some weeks later, I went to the Museum of Natural History to look at the Hannay diamonds and see for myself whatever could be seen. Like that man in Mr. White's office, I couldn't stop thinking about Hannay and the excitement he caused back in 1880, compared with General Electric and the discoveries of 1955. I didn't know just what to expect: I had got the idea from what Mr. White said that the diamonds would be out on public display under glass, per­haps with Hannay's apparatus laid out next to them. But they weren't on public display. I wandered along a hall thronged with glass cases of plaster models of dinosaurs, and genuine dinosaur skeletons mounted in awesome procession down the middle of the passage, until I came to a wooden wall and a locked door and a sign saying that here was the Mineral De-
Ch. 7: Shade of Ballantine Hannay Page of 303 Ch. 7: Shade of Ballantine Hannay
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