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The Microscope - Volume 60, Fourth Quarter 2012


On the cover: A low-power stereomicroscope image shows a detail of C.M. Russell’s “Watching the Enemy” painting (ca.1922). Russell used Chinese white to create a three-dimensional effect, and as a primer to give colors more vibrancy. See The Watercolors of Charles M. Russell by Jodie Utter.

Editorial | Father(s) of Microscopy

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 60 (4), p ii
Excerpt: I have never been a big fan of the “father of” term. Does any science or field of knowledge, microscopy included, have any one father? The term, of course, signifies that there was one particular person who founded or developed something that became important to society.  Full article (PDF)

The Watercolors of Charles M. Russell: An Examination of the Artist’s Materials and Techniques on the Montana Frontier

Jodie Utter
The Microscope 60 (4), pp 147 – 152
Abstract: An analysis of Charles M. Russell’s (active ca. 1880-1926) watercolor materials and techniques were conducted as part of a technical study using low-power magnification, polarized light microscopy (PLM), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), infrared photography (IR), and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Russell’s pigments were identified, as were shifts in his technique over the course of his career. Pigment samples were collected from Russell’s studio materials housed at the C.M. Russell Museum, the Britzman Collection at the Gilcrease Museum, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Russell’s technique was studied looking at 26 of his watercolor paintings. The paintings were chosen to represent all phases of the artist’s career and ability. Traditional and unconventional techniques were noted, as well as shifts in the utilization of underdrawing. The study also focused on a wide variety of high-quality artists’ materials available on the Montana frontier in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Full article (PDF)

Critical Focus | The Microscope and the Caveman

Brian J. Ford
The Microscope 60 (4), pp 155 – 163
Excerpt: Nobody can be sure of our origins, though we couldn’t have originated as we think. The hunter-gatherer is the accepted concept, but that cannot be the whole truth. Humans would have been too vulnerable to survive. With thin skin, small teeth, weak muscles, low speed and no claws, we would have been a victim for anything larger than a rat. Once humans were sufficiently social to live in communal colonies, and smart enough to figure out how to hunt for their food, then success would be assured. But, prior to that, they would have been prey to any passing carnivore and powerless to survive. To me, this poses the greatest question of all: What did humanity do before the hunter-gatherer?  Full article (PDF)

Airborne Asbestos Exposure from Gooch Fiber Use

S.P. Compton and J.R. Millette
The Microscope 60 (4), pp 165 – 170
Abstract: Microscopical tests, including polarized light microscopy (PLM), phase contrast microscopy (PCM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used along with X-ray diffraction (XRD) in the characterization and testing of a laboratory-grade “Gooch fiber” asbestos sample. The sample was tested for possible fiber release during typical use as a substrate for gravimetric analysis methods. While preparing substrates, the concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers greater than 5 micrometers in length were approximately one fiber per cubic centimeter of air.  Full article (PDF)

The Microscope Past: 15 Years | Macroscopy with the SEM

Leo Barish
The Microscope 60 (4), pp 171 – 178
Originally published in The Microscope, Vol. 45, No. 1, 1997.
Abstract: When light is used for imaging, there is no lower limit to magnification. On the other hand, the lowest magnification possible for many SEMs is about x10, which may be too high for some subjects. Several techniques are available that can reduce this figure. A well known method of reducing magnification with the SEM is by joining adjacent views into a montage and reducing the resulting composite photographically. Another approach to lower magnification is to extend the working distance in the SEM beyond its normal range. The lowest magnifications attainable by SEM are achieved by modification of the electron channeling pattern (ECP) mode; magnifications of less than one are feasible.  Full article (PDF)

Letters to the Editor | Aquatic Dinosaurs

The Microscope 60 (4), pp 179 – 180
Readers respond to Brian J. Ford’s article, “Critical Focus: Aquatic Dinosaurs Under the Lens” (The Microscope 60:3, pp. 123-131, 2012).  Full article (PDF)

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