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Posts Tagged ‘magnification’

In 2010, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher published a book of remarkable images that captured the honeybee in an entirely new light. By using powerful scanning electron microscopes, she magnified a bee’s microscopic structures by hundreds or even thousands of times in size, revealing startling, abstract forms that are far too small to see with the naked eye.

Now, as part of a new project called “Topography of Tears,” she’s using microscopes to give us an unexpected view of another familiar subject: dried human tears.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-microscopic-structures-of-dried-human-tears-180947766/#UBkOIVzILZd8kaLc.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

In 2010, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher published a book of remarkable images that captured the honeybee in an entirely new light. By using powerful scanning electron microscopes, she magnified a bee’s microscopic structures by hundreds or even thousands of times in size, revealing startling, abstract forms that are far too small to see with the naked eye.

Now, as part of a new project called “Topography of Tears,” she’s using microscopes to give us an unexpected view of another familiar subject: dried human tears.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-microscopic-structures-of-dried-human-tears-180947766/#UBkOIVzILZd8kaLc.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

A Smithsonian article by Joseph Stromberg about photographs of tears is resonant on so many levels one doesn’t know where to start.

Stromberg writes, “In 2010, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher published a book of remarkable images that captured the honeybee in an entirely new light. By using powerful scanning electron microscopes, she magnified a bee’s microscopic structures by hundreds or even thousands of times in size, revealing startling, abstract forms that are far too small to see with the naked eye.

“Now, as part of a new project called ‘Topography of Tears,’ she’s using microscopes to give us an unexpected view of another familiar subject: dried human tears….

“Scientifically, tears are divided into three different types, based on their origin. Both tears of grief and joy are psychic tears, triggered by extreme emotions, whether positive or negative. Basal tears are released continuously in tiny quantities (on average, 0.75 to 1.1 grams over a 24-hour period) to keep the cornea lubricated. Reflex tears are secreted in response to an irritant, like dust, onion vapors or tear gas.”

Oh, but I knew that tears from different causes are different. I learned that from a fantasy I was exposed to at age 10, when the future star of stage and screen René Auberjonois, age 13, played the wicked uncle in a production of James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks.

The wicked uncle requires jewels to release his lovely niece, the Princess Saralinda, from captivity.

Although you really will get a kick out of reading the whole book, all you need to know for present purposes is from Wikipedia:  “Zorn and the Golux travel to the home of Hagga, a woman with the ability to weep jewels, only to discover that she was made to weep so much that she is no longer able to cry.

“As the realization that they have failed sets in, Hagga begins to laugh inexplicably until she cries, producing an abundance of jewels. Hagga informs them that the magic spell that let her cry tears was altered, so whereas ‘the tears of sadness shall last without measure, the tears of laughter shall give but little pleasure.’ Jewels from the tears of happiness return to the state of tears a fortnight after they were made.”

(Fortunately, that was enough time to trick the wicked uncle.)

Photo: Rose-Lynn Fisher/Craig Krull Gallery
“Tears of Timeless Reunion”

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If you happen to be in the jungle with nothing but paper, a ball lens, a button battery, an LED, a switch, 3 cents worth of copper tape, and a need to see if there is E. coli in the drinking water, you’re in luck! You can make your own microscope.

Writes Keith Hartnett at the Boston Globe, “In recent years there’s been a trend in international development work towards building low-cost versions of key tools for widespread dissemination—inexpensive computers that let Indonesian fisherman check the weather before they go out to sea, or clean-burning stoves that replace coal and improve air quality in family huts.

“Now a laboratory at Stanford University has introduced a microscope that’s made of paper, assembled using principles of origami, and costs less than $1 to manufacture. It’s called Foldscope. …

“Despite the simple construction, Foldscope is a capable tool of real science. Users can adjust the focus using paper tabs, and the engineering team, led by bioengineer Manu Prakash and funded in part by the Gates Foundation, explained in a paper [PDF] that Foldscope ‘can provide over 2,000X magnification with submicron resolution.’ ” More. Hat tip to MIT Technology Review.

I wonder if I could get a gig folding paper at John’s Optics for Hire. I just made an origami fortune-teller for John’s son on Saturday, after all.

 

 

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