Forum 02/13/2003

“What is the Future of Molecular-Resolution Electron Microscopy?”

Michael Moody –¬†University of London, Retiree

Over four centuries’ quest by microscopists to reveal the most detailed biological structures leaves, as its principal heir, the modern electron microscope and computer image-processing. Invented during the second quarter of the 20th century, electron microscopy’s early development was slowed by the war. Then it made such advances in the third quarter, that it seemed likely that the last quarter would see it become a major technique for finding detailed molecular structures. And yet, despite important developments, it has not lived up to this promise. Is that merely destiny postponed, or must electron microscopy’s role always be limited to an intermediate-resolution structural liaison between molecules and cells?