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The Microscope - Volume 57, First Quarter 2009

IN THIS ISSUE:

On the cover: Polarized light microscope image of a cross-sectional overview of individual fiber from corset cording. See Microscopical Identification of 19th Century Corset Cording Fibers.


Editorial: Rare Leeuwenhoek Bids for History

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope, 57 (1), p ii, 2009.
Excerpt: It has been brought to our attention that a simple microscope has been sold and history has been made. The only Leeuwenhoek microscope in private hands was sold at auction on April 8, 2009. Professor Brian J. Ford, a Leeuwenhoek authority who witnessed the event, says the auction at Christie’s was widely publicized beforehand. But after the microscope was sold, little of anything has been said since.  Full article (PDF)


Microscopical Identification of 19th Century Corset Cording Fibers

Kelly M. Brinsko
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 3 – 9, 2009.
Abstract: An intact and relatively well-preserved length of cording dating from ca. 1854 was obtained by the author for fiber identification. The cording had been found inside a cast iron casket with human skeletal remains and clothing material. Based on the distribution and arrangement of the multiple cording pieces found within the coffin, they are believed to have formed the stiff boning of a corset. Microscopical analysis revealed the cording to be made up entirely of mammalian hair, which had degraded to a point that made species determination impossible. However, the widths of the hairs (150 – 250 µm) indicate nonhuman origin. Despite the severe degradation, no evidence of fungal activity was seen, which is likely due to the favorable conditions within a well-sealed iron coffin.  Full article (PDF)


Optical Crystallography of Silver Sulfadiazine

Andrew M. Bowen
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 11 – 18, 2009
Abstract: Silver sulfadiazine was encountered during casework, but its optical properties could not be found in a literature search. A standard was obtained and its optical properties determined by the spindle stage method. The standard crystals were determined to be monoclinic prisms with strong inclined dispersion, and the following optical properties at several wavelengths:
For λ=485 nm: (+ )2V=59.1°, nx=1.762, ny=1.766, nz=1.777, nz – nx=0.015; for λ=589 nm: (+ )2V=76.6°, nx=1.736, ny=1.739, nz=1.751, nz – nx=0.015; for λ=650 nm: (+)2V=77.2°, nx=1.726; ny=1.731; nz=1.738; nz – nx=0.012.  Full article (PDF)


Analysis of Amphibole Asbestos in Chrysotile-Containing Ores and a Manufactured Asbestos Product

J.R. Millette, A. Harmon, P. Few, W.L. Turner Jr., and W.R. Boltin
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 19 – 22, 2009
Abstract: Using a heating/acid/base digestion of chrysotile bulk materials and a chrysotile-containing product, provided a very sensitive (<0.0001%) analysis for amphibole asbestos fibers. The analysis showed the presence of amphibole fibers at concentrations below 1% in a sheet gasket and some bulk chrysotile from Black Lake, Quebec, Canada. No amphibole fibers were found in a sample of bulk Union Carbide Calidria chrysotile.  Full article (PDF)


Microscopical Methods for Vapor Analysis

Jeffrey M. Hollifield
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 23 – 25, 2009
Abstract: The microscope is not the first instrument that comes to mind when one thinks of analyzing a substance in the vapor phase. Solid particles are commonly placed onto microscope slides, dispersed, crushed, immersed in an appropriate mounting medium, topped with a coverglass, and thus prepared for microscopical analysis. Liquids can be placed onto a slide and analyzed as well, but how can gases be examined microscopically? This paper addresses the idea of using microchemical methods to detect vapors generated by chemical reactions conducted on microscope slides. The identification of vapors can aid in determining the chemical composition of the original sample.  Full article (PDF)


Forensic Geology: Earthly Crimes Solved with the Microscope

Raymond C. Murray
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 27 – 33, 2009.
Abstract: Soils are excellent as trace evidence; there are nearly an unlimited number of identifiable soil varieties based on the content of rocks, minerals, fossils, man-made particles and chemicals that may make up a sample. Forensic examination commonly yields the original source location of rocks and minerals associated with a crime. In addition, studies of the samples associated with both a suspect and a crime scene can produce evidence that the samples do or do not have a common source. Fraud involving mines, gems, or art is often detected based on the identification of the mineral components. The primary tool of the forensic geologist used in such forensic exams is the petrographic microscope.  Full article (PDF)


Obituary: Michael E. Beard, 1940 – 2008

Thomas G. Laubenthal
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 39 – 40, 2009.
Excerpt: The microanalysis world lost one of its friends and champions, Michael Beard, who passed away on October 28, 2008. He was 68 and lived in Raleigh, NC. Mike was connected to the world of microanalysis through his work with asbestos analysis.  Full article (PDF)


The Microscope Past: 50 Years Ago | Some Results of High Power Photomicrography of Rapidly Moving Living Objects with New Apparatus and Materials

C.A. Erskine
The Microscope, 57 (1), pp 41 – 43, 2009. Originally published in The Microscope, 12 (5), March – June 1959.
Excerpt: Electronic flash equipment as used in ordinary photography has been adapted to the microscope from time to time for the past 10 to 15 years, but not with entirely satisfactory results. It is only in the past year or two that equipment designed specifically for effective flash photomicrography has become available.  Full article (PDF)

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