Showing posts with label artwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artwork. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Planet Blastocystis

Well, no, this is not the Sun or Jupiter or any other gaseous galactic giant, nor is it Olympus Mons at half past nine, - but it's something quite as fascinating: Blastocystis. Even Blastocystis seen in a beautiful trichrome-stained fixed faecal smear viewed through a light microscope.

The image was sent to me by Dr Funda Dogruman-Al, Gazi University of Ankara. Colours and image quality have been manipulated a bit, - but especially the background colour may in fact vary substantially in trichrome stained preparations. I can point out at least five Blastocystis... even six, I think, like islands in an archipelago of microbes and debris, - reminiscent of volcanic craters with molten lava scarring the surface of a planet...

... which reminds me of an article from the magazine 'Microbe' (which I'm so fortunate to get in hard copy every month - sent to my office - what an immense luxury) by Arturo Casadevall and Ferric C Fang on the advantages and drawbacks on specialized science (April 2014 issue). In the article they cite a passage attributed to Konrad Lorenz:
Every man gets a narrower and narrower field of knowledge in which he must be an expert in order to compete with other people. The specialist knows more and more about less and less and finally knows everything about nothing.
After ten years of Blastocystis studies, it's not strange that you begin to feel the gravitational pull of Planet Blastocystis - orbiting in a remote corner of the Microbiology Galaxy, however rewarding life there may be... I therefore second the strategies brought forward in the article 'Specialized Science' to mitigate the drawbacks of specialisation, and from personal experience I believe that it is extremely important to throw yourself into a different scientific field - at least for a short while. I also think that if we keep asking ourselves why we are doing what we're doing, this will to some degree prevent us from ending up too high in our ivory towers... or spending too much time on Blastocystis - or on any other planet.

While you're here: Why not take a sneak peek at ?