Name that tune science fiction short story

Okay, its time to appeal to the great information-schema which is the blogosphere. I am trying to find the name of a science fiction short story, is the summary. A brief explanation is below, you can skip it.

I grew up in one of these small school libraries that received $86.53 to buy books in 1968, and then another $277.04 to buy books in 1974, and yet another $114.92 to buy books in 1981 (the Lougheed overspending years). As a result, most of what I had to read in my Jr. High years was 1960s science fiction anthology books. I read a lot of them. Some were pretty good, most were atrocious. It didn't help that for most late 1950s/early 1960s science fiction the stories aged very very very very poorly -- mostly because they were obsessed with the effects of atomic bomb blasts. But hey, had to read them anyways. Last week I got to remembering a few of those stories, and even dug up my old copy of SEVENTEEN (17) x INFINITY to read through. (It's a real stinker by the way: not only is it almost entirely made up the aforementioned "nuclear bomb blasts will kill us all" storyline, but its from such an extraordinarily commie mindset that I'm surprised that Groff Conklin isn't a nom de plume for Nikolai Bulganin. I have a few anthologies I've bought over the years as well, mainly from the Edmonton Public Library's used book drive. I checked through them already though, and they don't seem to have the stories I am looking for. (one of the challenges of anthologies like this is how hard they are to keep separate in the ol' noggin)

Anyways this is a short story where I can remember a few plot details. (Spoilers ahead, for all that it matters) The gist is that in the near-future, a time-viewing device is available that can see into the past. (No travel, only as a witness). A researcher who has several bold ideas about Ancient Greece selects a couple of times and locations where the use of the time-viewer would be perfect to confirm or deny his theories. Basically a crossroads in our understanding of the ancient world could be set clear in one fell swoop, so he applies to the governmental committee that operates the time-viewer to apply to use it to view the past. He is rejected. Outraged and confused as to why his application is rejected (when he knows of other historians who have cleared up similarly polarizing theories with the device) he again submits his request and asks that the original decision be appealed. Again, no avail. Frustrated, he does his own research into the device itself. Though there is only one, the principles are relatively well known to people with advanced physics degrees -- and the historian happens to know one. He makes some inquiries, some other stuff I forget, and then manages to get what he believes are working plans to a time machine. It is then that he is arrested and detained by a government agent who admits that his proposal was a good one, and then in exchange for no longer researching into making another time device the agent tells our protagonist why his request was rejected. It turns out that further back in time you look, the more noisy/hazy the images and sounds become. Practically, its something like 300-900 years (he gives a fixed time, but I forget where in that range it is) back that the time viewer becomes practically unusable: which is why his 2000+ year old search was impossible. The reason the details weren't made clear is that the historian and his physicist friend failed to appreciate what the time viewer does, and they most certainly would figure it out instantly once the truth about the limitations was clear: if the closer to today you look the clearer the images of the past became, then 100 years ago would come in quite clear...50 years ago even better...5 years ago better still... and 5 months or days ago would be crystal clear. And that, said the government agent, is the problem with anybody else having the time viewer; when can you say the past "begins"? The answer is that the past is always just beginning, and that in practical terms you can witness "the past" of only a few seconds ago, anywhere in the world: privacy would become a thing of the past. The agent told them this is how they were caught: their scheming of a couple days earlier was watched practically in real-time by the government agents manning the time-viewer. And now they were both under arrest, and it is then that the historian/physicist admit to the G-man that there's something else they did that he hasn't discussed: they mailed instructions on how to build a time-viewer to several media outlets, personal friends, fellow physicists and coworkers, etc. etc. etc. The story ends with the three men realizing that privacy is no longer around, and a scary new world has unfolded in front of their very eyes.

So that's the story. I have no idea who wrote it when, or where it was written in. Third Edge of the Sword readers who might recongize this are welcome to indicate so in the comments.

While we're at it, does anybody know this Sci-Fi novel that I believe was written in the 90s by a writer who is actually a M./Ph.D Physicist? It's about two pieces of... something. They are 4-pole rather than 2-pole (I forget if its magnetic-related or what), and as a result the two pieces are trying to come into contact with each other. When unshielded (lead? forcefields? I forget what the shield was) the pieces "want" to travel towards each other, and do so extremely violently: burning/cutting through anything they touch in a relentless struggle to contact each other. Early in the novel, one piece is in orbit and causes a space station or vehicle to tilt as the other piece becomes unshielded. That's about all I remember about that little tome, though again it is a full length 90s novel. The scientist/author does a little "Afterward" where he discusses the realistic probability of his tale: basically if this 4-pole material does exist, our solid state models indicate it will behave in the manner he has indicated.

Update, December 1 2010, 10:44pm: We have an answer! The first story is Isaac Asimov's The Dead Past and you can read a good chunk of it online here. Still no word on the second story.