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The Power of Imagery

September 29, 2009
Students taking Kammie Algier's Plant Biology class had a chance to collect pollen grains and view them using Ventura College's Scanning Electron Microscope

Students taking Kammy Algier's Plant Biology class had a chance to collect pollen grains and view them using Ventura College's Scanning Electron Microscope

Ventura College has recently acquired a state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and the instrument was taken for a spin in Kammy Algier’s Plant Biology class.

Students taking part in the class collected pollen from different sources, which were viewed using a light microscope first and then the electron microscope.

The students were absolutely amazed at the detail observed in the electron microscope images since they had not been able to see much of the pollen’s detail using the light microscope. With the ability to see the details, many students began wondering about the functional role of these features.

Isn’t scientific inquiry a wonderful thing!

Students were left with an appreciation of the technology involved in electron microscopy, an understanding of the relative strengths of both types of microscopy (light versus electron), and SEM images of the pollen they collected!

The faculty members involved in the project were left with a greater appreciation of the analytical capability of this instrument, a greater understanding of how they might integrate this instrument into their curriculum, and a sense of excitement for the opportunities this instrument provides to Ventura College students.

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