According to Nonomiya, a substance like mica is first shaped into a disk, about the size of a 'sixteen soldiers' playing piece. Then it's suspended from a crystal thread in a vacuum. The surface of the disk is hit square on with light from an arc lamp, and the disk is deflected by light pressure.
The party was listening with interest. Among them, Sanshirō was recalling the day, shortly after his arrival in Tōkyō, when he'd peered through Nonomiya's scope. The described apparatus must be housed in that pickled vegetable can.
"Is there such thing as a crystal thread?" He whispered to Yojirō. Yojirō shook his head.
"Nonomiya-san, is there really such thing as a crystal thread?"
"There is. You melt crystal grains over an oxyhydrogen burner. Then, pulling with both hands, you draw out a fine thread."
Sanshirō acknowledged the response and queried no further. Next to speak was the critic in the striped haori who was seated next to Nonomiya.
"We're completely uninitiated in this field. How does one know what to look for in the first place?"
"Maxwell's theory predicts their existence, and a man named Lebedev first confirmed it through experiment. It's been conjectured recently that light pressure affects comet tails. These tails, which were expected to bend toward the sun, are always observed to extend, in fact, in the opposite direction."
The critic seemed duly impressed. "It's an interesting idea. Best of all, it plays on a grand scale."
"It's not just grand," added Professor Hirota, "it's also comfortably innocuous."
"And all the more innocuous if it proves wrong," laughed Haraguchi.