Crystals have always fascinated and benefited mankind. Their clarity and nearly perfect symmetry has captivated our attention since the earliest times and that fact remains true today. In the modern, high-tech era, we have learned use crystals in exciting new ways. In fact, crystals are integrated into many things we use on a regular basis, often without even realizing they are there.
There is a reason why the "glass" covering on a watch face is referred to as a "crystal." Rather than being plain glass, it is actually a crystal lens that is precisely shaped and highly polished. Crystals have a long history of being used in watches because they have the ability to resonate subtle vibrations that help keep the mechanics running in smooth time.
Most people instantly associate the word silicon with being modern and high-tech. This is partially because of Silicon Valley being an established technology center, but also because of silicon being a primary component in computer chips and microprocessors. While all of this is certainly true, few people realize that all of this is possible because of crystals. Silicon is derived from melting crystals into a liquid form that can be molded and shaped. So as you read this, you are using the power of crystals to bring information to your fingertips.
Many of us encounter LCD displays on a regular basis. Be it from a monitor, a hand-held game, a cell phone screen or digital signage, we interact with LCD more often than we usually realize. Not everyone stops to think about what the name means or how it works. The short explanation is that LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. Because crystals in a liquid state can carry and direct light very precisely, they make an ideal solution for monitors and other displays. They must, however, be properly recycled when the equipment has exceeded its life.
Whether you're making a telephone call from a land line or accessing high-speed Internet, you probably encounter fiber optic communications lines every day without even knowing it. These lines are actually made of glass. What you may be surprised to learn is that the glass is more than just heated sand. It also contains crystal, which strengthens the glass and gives it a more consistent, smooth flow.
- "Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age" by Michael Riordan (1998)
- Reciprocal Net: Crystals and Chemicals in Everyday Life
- druze of crystals image by Alexander Maksimov from Fotolia.com