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The Microscope - Volume 56, Fourth Quarter 2008


Editorial | Eager to Learn, Proud to Serve

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 56 (4), p ii
Excerpt: It is not unusual that students return to McCrone Research Institute (McRI) after taking their first course here. It is unusual that they return eight or more additional times and that they have an employer with the means and foresight to see the importance of investing in their employee’s education. Such is the case with one of our finest alumni, Gene Lawrence. Full article (PDF)

Characterization of Hexamine Squarate

Anne M. Miller
The Microscope 56 (4), pp 147 – 154
Abstract: Squaric acid has been well characterized as a microcrystal test reagent with a variety of inorganic compounds, however the reaction of squaric acid with organic compounds has not been previously pursued as a microcrystal test. A precursor to military high explosives, hexamine was reacted with squaric acid and the resulting product characterized with polarized light microscopy (PLM), infrared microspectroscopy (IMS), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Full article (PDF)

Winners of the Inter/Micro 2008 Photomicrography Competition

Andrew A. Havics
The Microscope 56 (4), pp 155 – 156
Excerpt: As all of us have seen, there are beautiful worlds visible under the microscope. Specimens of all shapes and colors often make for some striking imagery. Attendees of Inter/Micro 2008 submitted their best images for the Photomicrography Competition. We selected four winners. Kristin L. Bunker of the RJ Lee Group took the Best Overall Photomicrograph recognition for her asbestos bundle image. Most Unique Photomicrograph went to Jan Hinsch of Leica Microsystems for his flow pattern of a molded plastic part. Sebastian Sparenga and Kelly Brinsko, both of McCrone Research Institute, each received an Honorable Mention for their photomicrographs of a DDT rainbow and polyester PEN melt, respectively. Full article (PDF)

Palynological Investigation of Post-Flight Solid Rocket Booster Foreign Material

David M. Jarzen and Linda A. Nelson
The Microscope 56 (4), pp 157 – 162
Abstract: Investigations of foreign material in a drain tube from the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) of a recent Space Shuttle mission was identified as pollen. The source of the pollen is from deposits made by bees, collecting pollen from plants found at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The pollen is determined to have been present in the frustum drain tubes before the shuttle flight. During the flight, the pollen did not undergo thermal maturation. Full article (PDF)

The E-learning Imperative

Brian J. Ford
The Microscope 56 (4), pp 163 – 172
Abstract: E-learning, and “instruction at a distance,” are being widely promoted as an alternative to traditional teaching. The influence of distance learning on conventional instruction has a long-standing history, yet many of the terms in current use, including e-mail, blended learning, virtual reality and e-learning, are poorly understood. The virtual microscope was one of the first on-line simulators ever developed, and it is noted that many of the major developments (including the first-ever Web browser) were the result of research and development in Illinois. The lecture examines the effects of these developments on researchers and teachers of microscopy, sets the concepts into context, and addresses the benefits, and drawbacks, of the new technologies. Full article (PDF)

Tricks of the Trade | Rectangular Field Diaphragm

Thomas J. Hopen
The Microscope 56 (4), pp 179 – 180
Excerpt: Compared to other professional meetings I attend, the greatest aspect of Inter/Micro is the wealth of information the technical presentations provide and the conversations one has with other attendees. One of many tidbits I heard at the last meeting was a comment by Jan Hinsch during his presentation. Jan said that a rectangular field diaphragm is useful when looking at non-equant particles which appear to be opaque, such as heavily pigmented fibers. So when I got back from the meeting, I dug out of the drawer an old rectangular aperture that went to a retired Nic-Plan IR microscope. Full article (PDF)

Microscope Past: 50 Years Ago | Barring the Door with the Head

M. Deckert
The Microscope 56 (4), pp 183 – 185. Reprinted from the January/February 1958 issue of The Microscope.
Excerpt: None of us would think of putting his head in the smallest open window as the best means of locking up the house for the night. There are certain animals, however, that actually employ such means. For example, ants that live in the cavities of plants close the natural “look-outs” with their heads, which have precisely the size and shape requisite for the purpose. The Cuban toad, Bufo empusa, stops up the entrance of its hole in the same way. This creature’s head is its hardest part, but such “hardheadedness” is not general, and, to take another example, the South American spider Cyclocosmia truncata, prefers to employ for the end in view the stopper-shaped part of its hindquarters, and trusts to this to resist intrusion or irritation. Full article (PDF)

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