Posts Tagged ‘Spike Walker’

Microscopic secrets

September 12, 2010

The Guardian reports that Spike Walker was awarded the Royal Photographic Society‘s combined Royal Colleges medal for his ‘outstanding contribution to photography and its application in the service of medicine’. A retired schoolteacher, Spike produces photomicrographs in his garage, which he has converted into a laboratory

Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter released in our brains when we do something rewarding. The dopaminergic system is behind most good feelings we have, and it is also the chemical that is targeted by highly addictive drugs such as cocaine.

The Beautiful Brain: To create this beautiful micrograph of dopamine crystals, Spike Walker, who won Thursday evening’s Royal Photographic Society‘s Combined Royal Colleges Medal, shone polarized light at the minute chemical structures. The crystals reflect light at different wavelengths depending on their orientations within the overall chemical structure. According to Walker, using this technique highlights more detail in the crystal structure than regular observation through a microscope.

Crystals of stearic acid, a saturated long-chain fatty acid found in animal fat and cocoa butter.

Bike blog: Crystals of stearic acid

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