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Treasure/Unidentified Specimen at 10x Magnification

treasure_inline380.jpgEvery issue, we invite one member of the college community to share their delight in an object found on campus. Here Cate Nelson ’24, one of the 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows, speaks to a specimen from an unidentified tree sapling that she discovered in the college's collection of microscope slides.

Sustainable choices, and inspiring people to make those sustainable decisions, is really important to me. I use my art to speak to that. I was studying organisms I thought I knew, like flowers and algae, but under a microscope, they were so beautiful and so different – I thought it was the coolest thing. I painted four original art pieces to show others these subjects I loved. Some of my pieces are more closely representational, some of them are looser interpretations inspired by what I saw, but all of them are inspired by amazing subjects.

Taking a photo is not necessarily a good representation of everything you can see under the microscope. You can’t bring each layer of a slide into focus at the same time, so you can’t capture the depth and the detail. Through drawings and paintings, I can recreate and deepen the experience of looking through a microscope. This particular specimen is from a small tree branch that’s about three years old. I loved the intricate cells and the sense of growth and motion.

Nov. 5, 2021