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The Microscope - Volume 59, Second Quarter 2011


On the cover: Photomicrograph at 400X magnification of a ruby-throated hummingbird feather showing expanded nodes on the left vanule and less expanded nodes on the right. See Microscopy of Feathers: A Practical Guide for Forensic Feather Identification by Carla J. Dove and Sandra L. Koch.

Editorial | The Microscope in Changing Times

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 59 (2), p ii
Excerpt: If you are reading this, it is a pretty safe bet that microscopy is your field and the microscope is your instrument. And at some period of time during the 74 years since our first issue, The Microscope has been your microscopy journal of choice, written by microscopists for microscopists. Amateurs and professionals have contributed to its pages and have had much valuable information to share about their explorations in the microscopic world.  Full article (PDF)

Microscopy of Feathers: A Practical Guide for Forensic Feather Identification

Carla J. Dove and Sandra L. Koch
The Microscope 59 (2), pp 51-71
Abstract: The identification of bird species from feather fragments is useful in many disciplines, including forensic science. Feather evidence can be helpful to criminal investigations in demonstrating physical contact between clothing manufactured with down feathers, or it may provide specific links to the crime scene by identifying the species or group of birds from which the feather evidence came. This guide describes the potential importance of feather evidence to criminal investigations and introduces the basic techniques of approaching the identification of birds from feather evidence in such cases. Photomicrographs and descriptions are provided for eight (8) orders of birds that are commonly involved in criminal cases with emphasis on the diagnostic microscopic characters for each order. Characteristics of feather barbs, barbules, nodes and pigmentation patterns are described in detail with cautionary notes for similar species in each group. Also discussed are details of feather topography, microslide preparation for downy (plumulaceous) feather barbs, information on report writing and testimony, and the significance of feathers in forensic cases.  Full article (PDF)

Critical Focus | Cultured Meat: Food for the Future

Brian J. Ford
The Microscope 59 (2), pp 73-81
Excerpt: Journalists say the funniest things. “You were quoted as saying that people could create revolutionary food for the future out of living cells,” said one recently. “Is it feasible?” Of course it is. What did he think he’d eaten for breakfast? It is curious how easily we overlook the fact that our food is largely composed of cells, either living or dead. Yet, this simple proposition helps make sense of our diet, assists us when we work on how to handle food safely – and offers radical new ideas on how we could mass-produce food for the mushrooming human populations of the near future.  Full article (PDF)

Selected 20th Century Scientists and Their Microscopes

Jorge H. Aigla
The Microscope 59 (2), pp 83-87
Introduction: Photographs of 20th century scientists are plentiful, but there are few images that show these researchers with their instruments, and still fewer of those who use the microscope for their investigations into nature. Coming across several of these images during the past years, the author was moved to compile them and write a biographical sketch of each scientist, with a note about their depicted instruments. The photographs vary greatly in quality in the published sources, and only one of the photographs shown here gives credit to the author. The originals were photographed with a Nikon F 35 mm camera using a Nikkor Micro 55 mm lens and Kodak Elite Chrome 400 ASA film.  Full article (PDF)

The Microscope Past: 40 Years Ago | A Scanning Electron Microscope Technique for Study of the Internal Microanatomy of Embryos

P.B. Armstrong
The Microscope 59 (2), pp 89-91. Originally published in The Microscope, Vol. 19, No. 3, July 1971.
Abstract: A technique for the study of the internal anatomy of embryos with the scanning electron microscope is described. Partially sectioned paraffin embedded embryos are processed for examination with the scanning electron microscope by critical point drying, after removal of paraffin. The technique should prove useful for studying a variety of problems where knowledge of micro-anatomical relations in three dimensions is required.  Full article (PDF)

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