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Art of Science image titled Shadow of a shadow of a shadow
Shadow of a Shadow of a Shadow

Scientist Collaborators Yee Ming Khaw, and Mayandi Sivaguru

Makoto Inoue Laboratory Group

Zeiss Axiovert 200M

Funded by MI start up

Of all the instruments used in the study of biology, the microscope has contributed the most to furthering knowledge. Surprisingly, it took around 1,300 years from the time optical magnification was discovered utill its first practical application, the invention of eyeglasses in the 13th century. It took another 300 hundred years to invent the microscope. Astoundingly, in the past 430 years we have moved from having microscopes that can give us vague cell outlines to super-resolution microscopes that can be used to track individual molecules inside cells.

This piece is derived from a bright-field microscope image of neurons in the mouse hippocampus: a complex brain structure that has a major role in learning and memory. The technique is the simplest of all optical microscopy approaches. However, its ease also makes it popular, generating images of dark samples against a bright background, allowing scientists to visualize cells across the three domains of life.