Popular Science

ZOOMING IN   ON THE HISTORY OF MAGNIFICATION

1 YEAR: 750–710 B.C.

IMAGE: Cuneiform (2x)

In 1850, archaeologists unearthed the oldest-known magnifier in what is now Iraq. The inch-and-a-half wide Nimrud lens may have helped ancient Assyrians view minuscule inscriptions. This polished rock crystal refracts light through

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