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Eddie Fisher once appeared on a television program during which entertainers sought romantic, spiritual, and other miscellaneous guidance from a group of panelists (among them the noted wit George S. Kaufman). Fisher's complaint concerned a certain chorus girl who refused to go out with him on account of his age.

"Mr. Fisher," Kaufman advised, "on Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars up to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the development and construction of the Mount Palomar telescope -- an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope." Here Kaufman paused, surveying the puzzled faces around him. "Mr. Fisher," he continued, "if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn't be able to detect my interest in your problem."

[The 200-inch, 20-ton mirror inside Palomar's Hale telescope had to be cooled for nearly a year after it was cast. It was then ground and polished on and off for eleven years. By the end of the process, 62,000 pounds of abrasives had been used to wear away more than five tons of excess glass.]

[A nickel-titanium alloy, 55-Nitinol can be fashioned at high temperature into a complex shape, cooled, and crushed beyond recognition. When reheated it regains its original shape, "remembering" every curve and angle. A radiotelescope as much as a mile in diameter could be compactly packaged on the ground, sent into space, and unfolded when solar-heated.]

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