Under a polarizing lens,
colored stripes indicate
mechanical strain inside
a puck of experimental
glass. The iridescence in
this sample suggests that
it will break easily and that
researchers should alter
the processing conditions.
“It’s hot as hell,
the glass gets
Most of the company’s research is on
new manufacturing processes and gradual
improvements of existing products like
Gorilla Glass. But scientists also get to
play around. One of Ellison’s recent projects, for example, was to try to re-create
the glass used to make the fourth-century
Roman Lycurgus Cup. The goblet is cranberry red when lit from behind and jade
green when lit from the front.
Ellison giddily shows off a sample of
his Lycurgus-inspired glass, holding it up
to a window to demonstrate the effect.
“Now I know in detail why it does this,” he
says. Since he doesn’t know what use such
glass might have today or in the future,
though, the recipe will go onto the shelf
for a future employee to find.