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Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The Prometheus of Microscopy

Division in Cells (circ. 1941)
Phase Films

Bid on the complete, original 16mm print on eBay through 1/23/07!

This amazing find of a film brings together for the first time then Director of the California Academy of Sciences Dr. Robert Miller, who incidentally "discovered" a new species of Alona Baird in the 1930s (as documented by the American Microscopical Society), and the now famous Kurt Michel, the first person to apply the phase contrast method to the presentation of chromosomes in live cells.

This is more Michel's film - his magnum opus, if you will - than Miller's however, as it brought to the public for the first time ever, time-lapse microscopy of living cells.

When viewed in context, this film's images produce chills of amazement. We here at ThinkStream Films wonder in awe how much more powerful this film was when viewed for the first time by the micro-sciences community. This was Star Trek before there was Star Trek. This was the apex of a time when the microcosm was our focus of exploration - before we were jettisoned (after a 180-degree spin) into the macrocosm of space exploration in the fifties. This was the new frontier. This film represents nothing less than the very horizon of scientific achievement. And one man brought it to us. His name was Kurt Michel.

As a final note, we can't help but appreciate the temporary "production" name attributed to this important scientific offering, "Phase Films," an obvious direct reference to the phase contrast method used by Michel.

This wonderful film is one of the last remaining testaments of Michel's work at the time (we've not seen another print) and deserves immediate preservation to hold its rightful place as one of the most significant early documents in the ever-growing body of research in the fields of genetic and microbiology science.

Highlights clip edited to a fraction of film's original ten minute running time.

Makes me feel very insignificant and small but very, very young.
Much better to be insignificant and young than to be insignificant and old. The former implies naievite; the later, wasted time.
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