Golden Jubilee 2008

Golden Jubilee Logo

The year 2008 was a big one for the ACMM, which was at that point still called the Electron Microscope Unit. Major renovations in the unit’s laboratories created new laboratory space for users in the life sciences (including PC2 laboratories), and the unit’s stable of instruments expanded with the addition of three cutting-edge optical microscopes, two new TEMs, and a Zeiss high-resolution SEM. And, of course, one cannot forget that 2008 was the golden jubilee of the unit, which was established by the University of Sydney in 1958 as Australia’s first such centralised microscopy facility.

Even though the unit celebrated this important milestone throughout 2008, the golden jubilee activities culminated in early December 2008 with the international symposium Excellence in Microscopy; the official jubilee luncheon in the University’s Great Hall during which the unit’s book 50 Great Moments was launched; and a talk by the internationally respected biologist Prof. Hans Tanke (Head, Department of Molecular Cell Biology at Leiden University). This talk was one of the public lectures associated with the Macleay Museum’s microscopy exhibit Small Matters.

Small Matters – Exploring the World of Microscopy

Small Matters Logo

From August 2008 to February 2009, the University’s Macleay Museum hosted this exciting exhibition, which allowed insight into the fascinating world of microscopy. Free of charge and open to the public, Small Matters offered schools, students, staff and families an introduction to modern microscopy techniques and their underlying scientific principles.

Many people are surprised to learn that research done with microscopy and microanalysis influences our lives on a daily basis. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, from the way we treat cancer to the choice of metals in our cars, many of the blessings of our modern world would not have been possible without advanced microscopy.

The exhibition covered the basic principles of light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray microtomography, and structural & elemental analysis methods, as well as the different specimen preparation required. The display also included a historic section, showcasing rare antique pieces of microscopy equipment, and a hands-on area with light microscopes and a wide range of specimens.

Small Matters was officially opened by the University’s Vice Chancellor & Principal Dr Michael Spence, with a short presentation by Dr Paul Willis (ABC Catalyst), and it was accompanied by an exciting series of public lectures by Dr Peter Hines, Dr Judith Field, A/Prof. Guy Cox, Dr Anya Salih and Dr Allan Jones.

Excellence in Microscopy – Commemorative Symposium

Excellence in Microscopy Logo

Excellence in Microscopy saw a host of leading national and international speakers and eager listeners converge on the Education Building for the three days (3–5 December 2008). The 100 or so delegates were treated to 29 presentations that ranged from advanced materials to archaeology and from biotechnology to nanotechnology, but that all shared the common theme of incorporating some form of microscopy. Among the international speakers were Prof. Paul Midgely from the University of Cambridge, Prof. Daniel Axelrod from the University of Michigan, and Prof. Manfred Rühle from the Max Planck Institute, Germany. Local speakers included some of the major users of the EMU, like Prof. Yiu-Wing Mai (AMME), Prof. David McKenzie (Physics), Prof. Mike Swain (Dentistry), and Prof. Tony Weiss (MMB). The symposium was a quality showcase of microscopy in science, engineering and medicine, and it really lived up its title.

Golden Jubilee Networking Luncheon & Plenary Lectures

The golden jubilee networking luncheon occurred on 4 December 2008 as the symposium delegates moved to the University’s Great Hall for the luncheon and accompanying plenary lectures. Numbers swelled as various other guests – including University dignitaries, former EMU staff and industry representatives – joined the delegates for the luncheon. Before lunch began, the unit launched a history book created to mark the jubilee: 50 Great Moments – Celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the University of Sydney’s Electron Microscope Unit.

Published by Sydney University Press (and available through its website), 50 Great Moments presents stories about the people, instruments, achievements and science that have made the EMU during the past five decades. The book was launched on the day by Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof. Don Nutbeam.

After a delightful lunch, plenary lectures were given by Prof. Wolfgang Baumeister from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Germany, and Dr Thomas Kelly from Imago Scientific Instruments, Madison, USA; both spoke on the common theme of high-resolution tomography, though aimed at life sciences and physical sciences, respectively.