Seeing the Invisible

Human beings have been trying to figure out the elementary composition of the universe since the era of ancient Greece. Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher, created atomic theory. In the atomic theory, everything is composed of “atoms” (from the Greek meaning “can’t be cut”) and these atoms are physically indivisible.1 The ancient Greeks speculated on …

Celebrating Science at a Science Fiction Convention

I am a second-generation science fiction fan; my parents have been Star Trek fans since the ‘60s, and I grew up on PBS reruns of Doctor Who in the ‘80s. Like so many others, my appreciation for science fiction definitely played a role in developing my interests in real-world science. One of my favorite ways …

Royal Rife’s Universal Microscope (and Why It Can’t Exist)

Royal Rife

In the 1930s, microscope designer Royal Rife made a splash with reports that he had designed a new microscope that could view nanoscale objects such as viruses!1 The only problem was that it didn’t work. In fact, it couldn’t work, based on the basic physics of light. Rife was attempting to improve upon the optical …

How Can We Photograph the Nanosized World?

If you think back to primary school science class, you may recall looking at cells or bacteria under a microscope. I remember being fascinated that I could look at objects invisible to the naked eye by simply looking into a laboratory instrument. Now what if you wanted to look at something that was thousands of …

Publication Summary: Dark Field Microscopy Makes Nanoparticles Light Up

This post is part of our ongoing series of public-friendly summaries describing research articles that have been published by members of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Katie Hurley and Nathan Klein, a doctoral mentor/undergraduate mentee team at the University of Minnesota, were co-first authors on this paper. Katie says, “In this post I want to point …