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CCSAB Community College Science Advisory Board

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Colloquium Series Presentation on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at SUNY New Paltz, Coykendall Science Building; Reception at 4:00 PM and Lecture at 4:30 PM


Title: The Hidden Dimension of Microscopic Life. Speaker: Dr. Jenny Magnes from Vassar College. Where: Coykendall Science Building Auditorium. When: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM (preceded by reception and refreshments starting at 4:00 PM).

We investigate the locomotion and mechanosensation of microscopic species such as nematodes in a three-dimensional space. Because traditional microscope-based approaches limit study to a narrow, nearly two-dimensional view, the scientific community knows very little about the movement and behavioral patterns of microorganisms in three dimensions. Our novel analytical approach uses laser diffraction instead of microscope-based equipment, providing real-time analysis of freely swimming microscopic species. Diffraction patterns are created when light bends around an object and later interferes constructively and destructively. In our case, the diffraction patterns are then a representation of microscopic life in reciprocal space, in which small microscopic features are comparatively large and larger features are relatively small. The analysis of these beautiful reciprocal space images is less than straightforward, since the observance of some properties of light is forbidden by the physics of light itself!

Dr. Jenny Magnes

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