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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Evolution Machine  
  A device that accelerates the process of evolution by millions of times.  

Dr. John Pollard has not only discovered the cause of evolution on earth, but is prepared to make possible evolution many times faster than man ordinarily experiences.

A big cube-like structure of transparent metal surmounted by a huge metal cylinder resembling a monster vacuum tube, took up the room's center, and he showed us in an adjoining stone-floored room the dynamos and motors of his private power plant...

"...it is the cosmic rays, beating upon every living organism on earth, that cause the profound changes in the structure of those organisms which we call mutations...

"I have been able in the last months to do something no physicist has been able to do, to concentrate the cosmic rays and yet remove from them their harmful properties. You saw the cylinder over the metal cube in my laboratory? That cylinder literally gathers in from an immense distance the cosmic rays that strike this part of earth, and reflects them down inside the cube.

"Now suppose those concentrated cosmic rays, millions of times stronger than the ordinary cosmic rays that strike one spot on earth, fell upon a man standing inside the cube? What will be the result? ...He will be changed millions of times faster than ordinarily, will go forward in hours or minutes through the evolutionary mutations that all mankind will go forward through in eons to come!"

From The Man Who Evolved, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Here's what happens when Dr. John Pollard steps into his device:

He stepped up into the cube, standing directly beneath the disk in its ceiling...

The cylinder broke again into glowing white light, and as the shafts of glowing white force shot down from the disk in the cube's ceiling upon Pollard, we glimpsed his whole body writhing as though beneath a terrifically concentrated electrical force. The shaft of glowing emanations almost hid him from our view.

Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka, @nyrath) for reminding me to put this item in the index.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Man Who Evolved
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to The Man Who Evolved
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

Evolution Machine-related news articles:
  - Evolution Machine Compresses Eons Into Days

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