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Visualizing the Invisible

Knowledge of the microscopic structure of biological systems is the key to understanding their physiological properties. Most of what we now know about this subject has been generated by techniques that produce images of the materials of interest, one way or another, and there is every reason to believe that the impact of these techniques on the biological sciences will be every bit as important in the future as they are today. Thus, the 21st century biologist needs to understand how microscopic imaging techniques work, as it is likely that sooner or later he or she will have to use one or another of them, or will otherwise become dependent on the information that they provide.

This textbook introduces the many techniques now available for imaging biological materials, such as crystallography, optical microscopy, and electron microscopy, at a level that will enable them to use them effectively to do research. Since all of these experimental methods are best understood in terms of Fourier transformations, this book first explains the relevant concepts from this branch of mathematics, and subsequently illustrates their elegance and power by applying them to each of the techniques presented.

Derived from a one-term course taught by the author for many years, the book is intended for students interested either in doing structural research themselves, or in exploiting structural information produced by others. Scientists interested in entering the structural biology field later in their careers will also find it useful.

Peter Moore is a biophysical chemist who received his Ph.D. at Harvard with J.D. Watson, and spent most of his subsequent career at Yale. He is best known for his work on the three-dimensional structure of the ribosome, which he pursued using a wide variety of biophysical methods

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