slugnads’ adventures in wonderland: through the looking-glass(es)

Oh Frabjous Day! Time to slay some jabber-demons and admit it:

I have, on occasion, been known to take photos in mirrors and through microscope lenses…and telescopes. And binoculars.

…and it’s totally possible that at least one of my dissertation defense slides originated this way.

But let’s get some methodology straight: “this way” doesn’t mean I use high-tech camera-gadgets attached to fancy optical-gizmos – I stick my digital camera right up to whatever eyepiece is staring me in the…eye…and snap away. An act of desperation? Perhaps.

Since I’ve been lucky enough to wonder through science wander-land, I will share some of my adventures with you:

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

the slithy toves

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

all mimsy were the borogroves

 

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

the mome raths outgrabe

These are human chromosomes. We normally have 46 of them, organized into 23 pairs. Different organisms have different numbers: woolly mammoths had 58 chromosomes, for example, and kangaroos have 12.

The chromosome spread on the left is from an amniocentesis sample, shot through a microscope during my former day job as a cytogenetic technician.

 

 

California quail — Callipepla californica — the state’s official bird.

Fun quail fact: the birds are highly social, and one of their daily activities is a communal dust bath. Sign me up!

Shot through a pair of ancient binocs.

 

 

 

 

Zebrafish embryos, approximately three days old. They’re still carting around yolk sacs — they’ll ditch those prior to adulthood.

Once upon a time, I worked for a bit in a zebrafish lab and studied olfactory learning. Yes, fish can smell.

Shot through a kick-ass microscope.

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

Beware the Jabberwock!

 

 

 

This is a cockroach.

Under a microscope.

I love bugs.

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

the Jubjub bird

 

 

 

A bald eagle — Haliaeetus leucocephalus – or as I’ve heard it pronounced, a bald “agle” — rhymes with bagel. The United States national bird.

Fun agle facts: diving speeds can reach 90 mph, wing spans 6-8 ft. Females are larger than males.

Not fun fact: in the 1950s, there were only 412 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states.

Shot through a sweet birding scope on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

the frumious Bandersnatch

 

Dividing HeLa cells. Very interesting history.

The cells are in the last stage of cell division, called cytokinesis, where the two daughter cells are separating.

Shot toward the end of grad school when I needed a distraction. It’s like watching cells divide…

 

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

the Tumtum tree

 

 

[Tumtum tree haiku --

Strange lumpy thing by my house.

No clue what it is.]

I thought the binocs + camera would answer my question. Alas.

Any thoughts?

 slugnads adventures in wonderland: through the looking glass(es)

the vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

 

 

 

 

Slugnads, the jabber-slayer.

Commence futterwacken.

 

 

 

 

Callooh! Callay!

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Nadia Drake

Trees and I go way back. My first science experiment involved jumping out of one (with feathers) and trying to fly. Then, I engineered tree-forts. And now, I have returned to the redwoods of my childhood to study, live, and write. I love the controversies, discoveries, and processes of science. But research was an imperfect career for me. My dissertation topic—the role of genomic imprinting in mouse growth and olfactory learning—was exciting, but the everyday labwork was not. I enjoyed writing primers on epigenetics for undergraduates, not designing primers for PCR reactions. When I finally acknowledged the signs, my destination was obvious. I needed to return to what I loved: the redwoods, and writing. Now I can climb into those groves of knowledge and share them, without first having to grow them from seeds.
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0 comments for “slugnads’ adventures in wonderland: through the looking-glass(es)

  1. SandeepR
    19 October, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    The time has come to talk of many things,
    “Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
    Of cabbages–and kings–
    And why the sea is boiling hot–
    And whether pigs have wings.”
    From The Walrus and the Carpenter

    I love Alice (in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass), thought I’d chip in with a bit from another Lewis Carroll poem.

    Great idea to take pictures through scope lenses, I never really thought about it, or realized the results would look so good.

  2. nadiadrake
    19 October, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Yes!!

    Maybe I should have borrowed from the mock turtle for our scicom philosophy:

    “What is the use of repeating all that stuff, if you don’t explain it as you go on? It’s by far the most confusing thing I ever heard!”

    I often feel like science is this crazy wonderland — exotic, elegant, beautiful, bizarre — truly ‘curioser and curiouser’ and very much like the worlds of carroll’s imagination.

    Thanks :-) I’m a supporter of rudimentary techniques.

  3. 20 October, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I second Sandeep. Amazing photos considering the technique. Seems like the microscope companies just want to sell the fanciest technology to scientists when something simple will do just as well. Thanks for sharing!

  4. nadiadrake
    21 October, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks, Melissae! Cheers!