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October 26, 2014 AT 3:00 am

Betzig develops new microscopy technique just after winning Nobel Prize

Eric Betzig, who shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry earlier this month, developed another microscopy technique allowing cellular processes to be observed at groundbreaking resolution and speed. via The Washington Post:

Betzig came up with his Nobel-winning microscope (PALM) when he’d grown frustrated with the limitations of other microscope technologies. The so-called lattice light-sheet microscopy that he describes in Thursday’s paper was the result of his eventual boredom with PALM.

“Again, I just started to understand the limits of the technology,” Betzig said. PALM was great at looking at living systems, but only when they moved slowly. It couldn’t take measurements quickly enough to get high-resolution pictures of fast cellular divisions.

Trying to understand biology using these microscopes is like piecing together a football game from high-resolution photos, Betzig said: You can see images of a pass, and a touchdown, and of the cheerleaders doing a pyramid. But the rules of the game would only become clear once you saw a game on video.

“I’d been looking at those pictures my whole life,” Betzig said. “It was time to take a look at the living stuff in action.”

Read more.


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