In the 1930s, the recognition that energetic electrically-charged particles could be detected photographically led to the development of special emulsions for this purpose. In the postwar period it led to the development of special microscopes for measuring the trails of tiny grains of silver that resulted upon developing a film through which charged particles had passed. The most notable of these microscopes was developed in the early 1950s by Koristka, a leading Italian microscope firm—working at the behest of Giuseppe Occhialini, the leading cosmic ray researcher on the continent.
This example of Koristka’s first widely used model, the MS-2, was purchased in 1954, and used at the Naval Research Laboratory. New, it cost about $3,400. The maker’s plate reads: “Fratelli Koristka / Milano / mod. MS2 / No 103130* / Made in Italy.”
This model features a movable stage that allows for extremely accurate movement in the x-direction. Instead of the usual sliding ways, it has a system of flexible steel bands that eliminates friction and deviations from straight-line movement. This stage was designed by Max Cosyns (1906-1998), a Belgian nuclear physicist and adventurer.
We have binocular eyepiece mounts and Koristka goniometer and micrometer eyepieces and objectives as well as many other parts and accessories. Since the Koristka objectives were not of adequate quality for the NRL cosmic ray program, they were replaced by Leitz objectives.
Ref: Pietro Redondi, et. al., The Scientific Legacy of Beppo Occhialini (Bologna, 2006), p. xxviii.
M. Françon, et. al., eds., Progress in Microscopy (Pergamon, 1961), pp. 172-173.
Koristka, “Pioneers in Nuclear Track Plate Microscopy.” “MS2 High Precision scattering microscope for work up to 100 BeV or more.” Ad in Physics Today 10 (June 1957): 62.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
Italia: Lombardia, Milano
overall (estimated): 20 in x 20 in x 20 in; 50.8 cm x 50.8 cm x 50.8 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Naval Research Laboratory
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Modern Physics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object