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The Microscope - Volume 59, Third Quarter 2011


On the cover: “Celestial Spheres” Laren Cyr of MVA Scientific Consultants shows a fly ash suspension drop mounted onto carbon tape using alcohol dispersion. The sample was gold coated and then analyzed and photographed at 1,000x with a JEOL scanning electron microscope. Winner of Best SEM Photomicrograph in the Inter/Micro 2011 Photomicrography Competition. See Inter/Micro 2011.

Editorial | ‘I Thought Microscopy was Dead!’

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 59 (3), p ii
Excerpt: “I Thought Microscopy was Dead!” … It was not the first time I heard someone say this to me — and it probably won’t be the last. The first time was in 1985. I had just transferred from one university to another, and this was the first time I had been introduced to polarizing microscopes. My previous engineering courses didn’t have any PLMs, nor did the chemistry department (gasp), and this new forensic science department didn’t own more than one, so they had to do what many others did: borrow the mineralogy department’s instruments. Full article (PDF)

Inter/Micro 2011

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 59 (3), pp 99-115
Excerpt: McCrone Research Institute held the 63nd annual Inter/Micro microscopy conference on July 11-15 in its lecture rooms and laboratories on Chicago’s South Side, drawing more than 60 attendees and speakers from around the world. Participants heard in-depth research presentations by leading microscopists, who covered advancements in instrumentation, techniques and applications in various fields of microscopy and microanalysis. The winners of the Inter/Micro 2011 Photomicrography Competition were also announced at the dinner: Thomas Hopen, Best Overall Photomicrograph; Laren Cyr, Best SEM Photomicrograph; and Kelly Brinsko, Most Unique Photomicrograph. Full article (PDF)

A Method for Isolating Very Small Particles From Plastic Explosive Samples

Andrew M. Bowen
The Microscope 59 (3), pp 117-128
Abstract: Plastic explosive samples may contain large numbers of fine particles adhering to their surfaces. Analysis of these particles can be useful in forensic investigations involving plastic explosives. Data obtained from particle analysis can be used to develop investigative leads regarding the origin of an unknown explosive device or to compare two or more samples to determine whether they share a common origin. A method for isolating fine particles from Composition C4 plastic explosive samples is described, and examples of particles recovered by this method in casework are provided. Full article (PDF)

Critical Focus | Darwin: The Microscopist Who Didn’t Discover Evolution

Brian J. Ford
The Microscope 59 (3), pp 129-137
Excerpt: There are two theories for the origins of all the living things that surround us: They evolved or they were created. Ever since humanity began to philosophize, people have realized that evolution is an abundant reality — and yet some 40% of present-day Americans believe in creation. It is one of the most mind-boggling statistics that the Gallup Polls have unearthed. Even more surprising is the way we imagine evolutionary theory to have originated — surely it began with Charles Darwin? Oh, no it didn’t. Full article (PDF)

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Copyright © 2011 Microscope Publications, Division of McCrone Research Institute. All rights reserved.