On the horizon of an historic M&M
In advance of what is shaping up to be a historic meeting Chris Parmenter throws the spotlight onto North America, ahead of what is sure to be a particularly special event
This year’s M&M will be a celebration of historic anniversaries for MSA, MAS & IFES. The M&M 2017 meeting will be held August 6-10, 2017 at the America’s Center, St. Louis, Missouri and will feature special anniversary events, which will include:
• A Pre-Meeting Congress has been organized by the new MSA Student Council
• There will be Anniversary lectures by pioneering figures in microscopy and microanalysis
• A historical photo display and slide show capturing the history of the societies (read more on next page)
In addition to the usual Monday morning plenary lectures during the opening session, M&M 2017 will also feature early morning plenary anniversary lectures on the other three days of the conference.
The anniversary lectures will be hosted by the three sponsoring societies and presented by pioneering figures in microscopy and microanalysis. In order for these lectures to be featured with no competing programming, they have been scheduled at an early 7:30 am, however, there will complimentary coffee and a hand-held breakfast!
• Tuesday morning features the anniversary lecture by Dale Newbury, entitled Microanalysis: What Is It, Where Did It Come From, and Where Is It Going? This talk is sponsored by the Microanalysis Society (MAS), which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at M&M 2017.
• John Panitz, the co-inventor of the atom probe field ion microscope will talk on Wednesday morning in a lecture entitled, Point-projection Microscopy, which is sponsored by the International Field Emission Society (IFES). This year the IFES is co-sponsoring M&M for the first time in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the invention of the atom probe. The MSA hope to have many more joint meetings with them.
• Thursday morning will feature a lecture sponsored by MSA in the biological sciences by past Society President and pioneer in cryo-EM, Bob Glaeser on the Development of High-resolution TEM for Imaging Native, Radiation-sensitive Biomolecules.
• The MSA will also be sponsoring a lunch-time lecture in the physical sciences by pioneer in aberration-corrected electron optics, Ondrej Krivanek, Smarter Than an iPhone: The Emergence of the Modern Microscope.
As I mentioned, these anniversary lectures are in addition to the must-see Monday plenary lectures by Nobel Prize winner Eric Betzig, pioneer in super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, and will feature dynamic imaging from molecules to organisms.
Additionally, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) collaborator Keith Riles will present on the fundamental science and latest results of the LIGO group, which recently reported the third observation of gravitational waves from the collision of super-massive black holes.
Nobel Prize winner Eric Betzig
In addition to the above plenary talks, a Saturday Pre-Meeting Congress (PMC) has been organized by the new MSA Student Council for students, early career professionals, and the entire microscopy and microanalysis community.
The PMC will also feature a career development session, contributed poster session for students and postdocs, a Friday evening reception and a Saturday evening banquet. Keynote presentations will be given by the Society’s 2017 early career major award winners: Chris Russo (Burton Medalist), Sai Veeraraghavan (Palade Award) and Pinshane Huang (Crewe Award). Invited talks will be presented by M&M 2017 Student and Postdoctoral Scholars who will be honored at the meeting.
I am sure you’ll enjoy all of this special anniversary programming, in addition to the traditional outstanding array of scientific sessions, instrumentation demonstrations and exhibits, and opportunities to catch-up with old friends and meet new ones.
As part of the 75th anniversary celebration, the MSA have invited all living past presidents of MSA to join them and apparently the majority will be in attendance. M&M 2017 will provide a unique opportunity for today’s members to meet and celebrate past Society leaders whose efforts have made MSA the international leader in microscopy and microanalysis that it is today. MSA will also be marking its 75th anniversary with displays and slide shows of historical photos from different eras in the Society’s history. Prominently featured will be the photo below, which depicts leaders in the new field of electron microscopy at the inaugural meeting in Chicago in 1942. Attendees will have the opportunity to pose for selfies with this photo as a backdrop.
The MSA - serving the microscopy community for 75 years
In advance of this historic M&M, Rebecca Pool spoke with Mike Marko to find out more about the MSA and its history of serving the community.
Mike Marko has been very active within the Microscopy Society of America for many years, chairing numerous committees, organizing courses, and serving as President in 2016.
Describing himself as ‘an enthusiastic member’ of MSA, he believes that the Society is the place to go to learn what’s new in all fields of microscopy.
However, he is also passionate about the history of the Society and microscopy, currently acting as Archivist for the organisation, collecting historical media and helping to preserve important equipment.
Reflecting on the last 75 years of the MSA and microscopy, Marko highlights how the organisation was devoted to electron microscopy in its first fifty years.
Mike Marko, MSA archivist and MSA President in 2016
As he points out, the first series-produced, commercial TEM - the 1938 Siemens ÜM-100 - followed development work led by Ernst Ruska, for which he received a Nobel prize in 1985. However, Canadian expat, James Hillier, led the development of the first commercial TEM in the US, the 1940 RCA EMB. By the time of the first conference on electron microscopy, in 1942, in Chicago, around 30 TEMs were in use in the US. The Society was founded shortly afterwards as the “Electron Microscope Society of America”,with most of the founders being associated with the Radio Corporation of America, RCA.
A selection of early transmission electron microscope images and schematics from the MSA archives
The first regular annual meeting of EMSA was in 1944, in Chicago, and as Marko points out: “In the very beginning, members were mainly concerned with keeping the microscopes working.”
“Once the microscopes were working, the next challenge was preparing specimens, since neither microtomy nor embedding media had been developed,” he adds.
At the time, researchers including Canadian expat, Keith Porter, a pioneering electron microscopist and EMSA’s only two-time President, were preparing air-dried whole-mount samples. Early pictures such as Porter’s started a new field of study, which was ultimately named Cell Biology at a 1956 meeting at the NIH. By the mid-1960s, traditional biological TEM had come of age, after the development of improved fixation and staining, resin embedding, ultramicrotomy, and diamond knives by Porter, J. Luft, F. Sjöstrand, H. Fernández-Morán, and many others. Retrospective recognition of the contributions to cell biology by traditional electron microscopy came with the 1974 Nobel prize to Albert Claude, Christian de Duve, and George Palade.
Initially, biological applications dominated electron microscopy. However in 1956, the group of Sir Peter Hirsch at the Cavendish lab, Cambridge, recorded the first images of dislocations in metals.
By the late 1970s, British metallurgist, Gareth Thomas, had set up the National Centre for Electron Microscopy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, aiming for atomic resolution by the use a of million-volt TEM. And following the realization of aberration correction, applications in materials science really began to dominate electron microscopy.
According to Marko, the principles of aberration correction were laid out in 1947 by Otto Scherzer, with critical theoretical development work carried out by his student Harald Rose. Max Haider, a student of Rose, went onto to apply this aberration correction development, founding CEOS, which delivered the first commercial aberration-corrected TEM in the late 1990s.
Early work was also carried out in the US by the group of Albert Crewe, followed by the work of Ondrej Krivanek’s group, which also led to commercialization in the late 1990’s, by his company, Nion.
“The first “high-resolution” electron microscopes had a resolution of around ten nanometres, or 100 Angströms, and by 1964, resolution improved to 4 Å,” says Marko. “But we didn’t reach sub-angström resolution until aberration correction was developed, which constituted a revolution in resolution”.
At the same time, the rise of super-resolution light microscopy was underway. Given this and the increasing diversity of microscopy and microanalysis techniques published and presented at Society meetings, come 1991, the organisation changed its name from the Electron Microscopy Society of America to the Microscopy Society of America.
An eye on the future
In recent years, MSA has continued to flourish, and right now, Marko is excited that the current President, Ian Anderson, has put top priority on welcoming more and more young researchers into leadership roles in the Society. Anderson has established a Student Council, and this year, for the first time, students are organising a pre-meeting congress.
The MSA Archivist is also avidly watching what he describes as a convergence in resolution between materials science and biology. Largely thanks to the development of direct-electron detectors and sophisticated image-processing software, cryo-electron microscopy can be used to create near-atomic-resolution models of biological macromolecules.
Crucially, these macromolecules models are comparable to structures determined by X-ray crystallography, but are obtained without the need for crystallization. These breakthroughs were underpinned by the pioneering work of Nobelist Aaron Klug and successors D.Caspar, D. DeRosier, J. Frank, and many others. “Even with dose-sensitive biological specimens, we’re now getting very close to atomic resolution, and this is a major driver in the field of biology,” says Marko. “We are a technology-based society, so researchers can come to our meetings to learn about this and other up-and-coming technologies relevant to their applications.”
“I always encourage researchers to come to the Meeting to learn about technology that is outside their application,” he adds. “If they do this, they can learn how other researchers do things and how this might help themselves.”
Microscopy & Microanalysis will be held in St Louis, MO from 6th - 10th August at the America's Convention Center
Chris Parmenter and Rebecca Pool