Published: Jan 1953
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The papers in this Symposium are representative of the applications of the microscope as a technical tool in a number of fields and the techniques of its use. Besides the direct users of microscopy there are many others who benefit from its findings and who in their scientific and engineering reasoning continually make use of concepts and phenomena largely founded on visual evidence from basic microscopical investigations. In the testing of materials, as exemplified in numerous publications of this Society, this instrument plays many and ever-increasing roles, and it is fitting at this time to review its services and to indicate its potentialities. The title of the present paper is a misnomer, in that experimental directions for various procedures are not to be presented; even in the later papers such methods will be dealt with more by implication than explicitly, since they are covered by an extensive literature. It seems more appropriate here to discuss the methods that cannot be detailed but that are essential to the profitable pursuit of microscopical investigations. In spite of the prevalent use of the microscope as a symbol peculiar to the biological rather than the physical or engineering fields, it is not so generally realized that the requirements of technical microscopy in these latter applications are of the highest order, as regards apparatus and methods employed and optical theory involved. Industrial laboratories in general use more complicated instruments and have developed and utilized the most recent techniques. There is no more exacting test of resolution and image quality than in particle-size measurements. Studies of crystalline materials involve special instruments and reasoning, unfortunately too little employed on biological materials. There is a continuing demand for quantitative correlation between microscopical observations and engineering performance.
Mason, Clyde W.
Professor of Chemical Microscopy and Metallography, School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.