2004/12/31

The exponential rise in scientific imaging. (2) MICRO

On December 30, 2004, I indicated the 3 paths followed by the imaging revolution:
- towards the microscopic
- towards the macroscopic
- towards mathematical abstractions
Today I'll concentrate on the path toward the microscopic.
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To observe the very small scientists basically use lenses, light and cameras. From those 3 elements they derive multiple techniques. For example: Scanning Electron Microscopy, Translational Microscopy, Magnifying Microscopy, Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy, etc. A good introduction to all those techniques is available on the site "Molecular Expressions" a treatise on optical microscopy. Olympus America Inc published another very useful pdf document "Basics and Beyond" by Mortimer Abramowitz Fellow, New York Microscopical Society.

In the “Eye of the Beholder, wonders under the lens of the optical microscope” by Emily Harrison, an article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN of December 2004, we read: “There is infinite beauty in the world, if only we find the means to see it. And when it comes to seeing more, science holds a marvelous tool chest of techniques. With materials that may be as fundamental as light and lens, the art of scientific observation expands the visible world far beyond the depths and distances our unaided eyes can access. While optical telescopes extend our view deep into space, to distances billions of light-years away from the eye’s everyday demesne, optical microscopes turn our vision inward, taking it to deep inner space. They resolve slivers of the world as small as a wavelength of light, 1,000 times as small as anything we notice in the macroscopic world.”1

Describing their philosophy, the members of the “Eye of Science” state: “Our commitment is to the evidence of scientific investigation but also to the use of color as a creative and harmonious tool to achieve beauty. In the combination of the aesthetics and the science we hope to inspire the public. Day by day, in a world beyond human vision, we explore fascinating forms and structures.” 2




(1) American scientific Magazine. January 2005. In the Eye of the Beholder by Emily Harrison.
(2) In "Eye of Science"

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