scanning electron

Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image of a dry-fractured Vero cell revealed its contents, and the ultrastructural details at the site of an opened vacuole, inside of which you can see numerous Coxiella burnetii bacteria undergoing rapid replication. Please see the Flickr link below for additional NIAID photomicrographs of various microbes.

Infection of humans by Coxiella burnetii bacteria usually occurs by inhalation of these organisms from air that contains airborne barnyard dust contaminated by dried placental material, birth fluids, and excreta of infected animals. Other modes of transmission to humans, including tick bites, ingestion of unpasteurized milk or dairy products, and human to human transmission, are rare. Humans are often very susceptible to the disease, and very few organisms may be required to cause infection.

Copyright Restrictions: None - This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.


This digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed on the ventral surface of a bedbug, Cimex lectularius. From this view, at the top, you can see the insect’s skin piercing mouthparts it uses to obtain its blood meal, as well as a number of its disarticulated six jointed legs. You’ll also notice a beautiful diaphanous structure at the bottom of the image. It is speculated that this wondrous ultrastructural organ is most probably a scent gland, or related to the dissemination of scent, which may be pheromonal in nature. A further dissection of this, and the adjacent mesothoracic region, could possibly reveal an internalized aspect of this organ, which would be glandular in nature, and actually involved in the production of the aromatic chemical.

Clinical Features: Although bedbugs have been found naturally-infected with blood-borne pathogens, they are not effective vectors of disease. The primary medical importance is inflammation associated with their bites (due to allergic reactions to components in their saliva).

Picture : Janice Haney Carr

Spinning Hats, Kirsten Owen for Yohji Yamamoto, 1987

I have always loved when science is a driving force behind art. This image of the beautiful Kirsten Owen shot in 1988 wearing a huge sun hat by Yohji Yamamoto ( so big that if you bought one from the shop, the box was so big it would not fit into a taxi or domestic car! ) I was in love with the work of photographer Harold Edgerton who worked in the USA in the 1930s. He pioneered the use of strobe flashes and is the man best known for his frozen bullet and apple picture. However, he also used stroboscopic photography, where quickly repeated flashes would show every step of an action, swinging a golf club, a ballerina pirouetting, ( look at the work of Gjon Mili! ) etc all on the same frame. Scientific photography, whether it is X-ray photography, or images from an electron scanning microscope, has fuelled my work as it shows the world in ways we don’t see it - this has always been my raison d’être for making images. - Nick Knight