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The Microscope - Volume 58, Third Quarter 2010


On the cover: A Culpeper-style compound microscope (circa 1730s), produced from the original design by British instrument maker Edmund Culpeper, represents the state of the art of one-lens objectives from the 18th century. See the “A Compound Microscope by Harris of London, a Classic of the Pre-achromatic Era” abstract by Jan Hinsch from Inter/Micro 2010.

Editorial: Chemical Microscopy Lives on at Cornell

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 58 (3), p ii
Excerpt: Readers of The Microscope and people familiar with McCrone may think that Chicago-based McCrone Research Institute (McRI) was the first school in the United States to teach organized courses in microscopy. It was not. That distinction goes to Cornell University, which is also one of the first in the world to offer microscopy instruction, beginning in 1890. Full article (PDF)

Inter/Micro 2010

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 58 (3), pp 99-114
Excerpt: McCrone Research Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting and conducting the annual Inter/Micro conference on July 12-16 at its facility on Chicago’s South Side. The 62nd annual conference drew more than 100 attendees and speakers from around the world. It marked the first time that McRI held Inter/Micro in its building, using newly remodeled lecture rooms, laboratories and classrooms. Full article (PDF)

Winners of the Inter/Micro 2010 Photomicrography Competition

The Microscope 58 (3), p 114
Excerpt: Three winners were selected in the Inter/Micro 2010 Photomicrography Competition. Kelly Brinsko, Best Overall Photomicrograph; Sebastian Sparenga, Best SEM Photomicrograph; and Ming Zhou, Most Unique Photomicrograph. The winners were announced at the SMSI 2010 Awards Dinner, held at The Berghoff restaurant in Chicago. Full article (PDF)

Extreme Degradation of Human Hair by Keratinophilic and Keratinolytic Fungi

Walter F. Rowe
The Microscope 58 (3), pp 115-119
Abstract: Head hairs from a 19-year-old female murder victim, who had been buried for 36 years, were examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmitted light microscopy. The hairs exhibited a range of biodeterioration artifacts. In some areas on the hairs, the cuticular scales were intact; in others, scales had become loosened; and in yet other areas, scales had been completely lost, exposing the underlying cortical cells. Three different types of fungal tunnels were observed: thin, thread-like tunnels; conical tunnels that narrowed as they penetrated the shaft of the hair; and conical tunnels that increased in diameter as they penetrated the hairs. These fungal tunnels are consistent with the growth of both keratinophilic and keratinolytic fungi.

In some hairs, fungal hyphae had penetrated to the center of the hair and consumed the central medullary cells. In extreme cases, the hairs were reduced to hollow tubes resembling soda straws. A fungal penetrating organ was observed in situ, protruding from the shaft of the hair. The lack of cellular disruption surrounding this penetrating organ indicated that it had penetrated the hair by digesting the keratin of the cuticular and cortical cells. The extent of microbial attack on the hairs suggests that conditions (temperature, humidity and presence of a growth substrate) in the coffin were initially extremely favorable to fungal growth. The survival of substantial numbers of hair is most likely due to a fall in humidity due to loss of moisture from the coffin. Full article (PDF)

Critical Focus | Censoring the Cell: How the Microscope is Abused by the Media

Brian J. Ford
The Microscope 58 (3) pp 121-129
Excerpt: When was the last time you saw living cells through a microscope on television? Not cartoons or computer graphics but lustrous, dynamic, living cells? Don’t stop to think of it now, or you’ll never finish this article. The truth is that the wondrous world of the microscope has been largely banished from the small screen. Full article (PDF)

Tricks of the Trade | Electrolytic Tungsten Needle Sharpening

Andrew Bowen
The Microscope 58 (3), pp 131-134
Excerpt: Finely sharpened tungsten needles are essential tools required for the manipulation of small particles. For laboratories that frequently isolate and manipulate small particles, the costs associated with purchasing tungsten needles from a commercial source can become significant over an extended period of time. The need for a wide range of needle shapes and fineness, the frequency with which needles get damaged, and the relatively high cost of commercial tungsten needles make it worthwhile to learn how to sharpen your own needles. Full article (PDF)

Letter to the Editor | Microspectrophotometry of Blood

Andrew Anthony “Tony” Havics
The Microscope 58 (3), p 134
Excerpt: I was pleased to read Larry K. Peterson’s forensics article,” Microspectrophotometry (MSP) of Blood – An Update,” in The Microscope (58:2, pp 81-84, 2010). It brought to mind a few other related papers, which may be of interest to readers. Full article (PDF)

Obituary: Francis “Fran” Rosevear, 1912 – 2010

The Microscope 58 (3), p 135
Excerpt: Francis “Fran” Rosevear, one of Cornell University’s early microscopists and a pioneer of identifying surfactant phases through polarized light microscopy, died on July 5, 2010, in Cincinnati. He was 97 years old. A lifelong microscopist, Dr. Rosevear attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he studied under Professor Émile Chamot and earned his Ph.D. in chemical microscopy in 1937. After graduating, Dr. Rosevear went to work for the research department at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, where he did groundbreaking analyses in soap chemistry until his retirement in 1976. His photomicrographs identifying surfactant phases in soap are still used by the company today. Full article (PDF)

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