Light can be used to manipulate microscopic objects as well as to image them
Photons carry a small amount of momentum. This means that an object that absorbs or deflects a beam of light experiences a small force. With ordinary light sources, this radiation pressure is too small to be significant. But it is important on a cosmic scale (helping prevent gravitational collapse inside stars), and, more modestly, in the cell biology lab, where an intense focused laser beam can exert large enough forces to push small objects around inside a cell.
"The island was moving all night. The fisherman’s point drifted imperceptibly a little farther out to sea.
"Shudder after shudder shook the whole island like chills running up and down its spine, and the black pool seemed to creep deeper and deeper into the rocks. It was sucked in and out and fresh waves broke in from the sea, but the pool never seemed to fill up. Its enormous mirror-like black eye sank lower and lower, surrounded by a fringe of sea grass round the edges.
"On the beach on the leeward side, little field mice ran backward and forward at the edge of the water, the sand slipping away from under their paws. Boulders turned over heavily, revealing the pale roots of the sea pinks.
"At dawn the island slept. The trees had reached the lighthouse rock; deep holes were left where great boulders had been before, now lying scattered among the heather. They were waiting for another night so they could roll nearer and nearer the lighthouse. The great autumn gale continued to blow."
The physicist George Darwin used to say that every once in a while one should do a completely crazy experiment, like blowing the trumpet to the tulips every morning for a month. Probably nothing will happen, but if something did happen, that would be a stupendous discovery.
His father said nothing in answer but went on drinking whiskey-and-soda in delicate gulps.
The pêche Melba arrived with its dripping veil of of thick red Escoffier sauce. The two slices had been joined together so that the buttock-like shape of the fruit was again apparent.
"It’s like a celluloid cupid doll’s behind," said Orvil to himself. "This cupid doll has burst open and is pouring out lovely snow and great big clots of blood."
Orvil put some of the metallic-tasting red sauce on his tongue. His father watched indulgently and carefully until the last bit of peach had disappeared, then they both got up and went back to the basket chairs under the glass roof.
"Mamma," said Moomintroll suddenly. "I’ve met the sea horses, but they don’t seem to be interested in me at all. I only wanted to run along the beach besides them, and laugh with them, they’re so beautiful…"
Moominmamma nodded her head. “I don’t really think its possible to be friends with a sea horse,” she said gravely. “It’s not worthwhile being disappointed in them. I think one is only meant to feel happy when one just looks at them in the way that one looks at pretty birds or beautiful scenery.”