The year 2009 marked the centenary of the birth of Otto Scherzer, one of the early pioneers of electron microscopy. Scherzer was the originator of the famous microscopy theorem that the spherical and chromatic aberrations of rotationally symmetric electron lenses were unavoidable. In honor of this centennial occasion, we organized a special memorial symposium during Microscopy & Microanalysis 2009, which was held in Richmond, Virginia, in late July. The introductory talks of the symposium presented a fascinating mix of first-hand accounts about working with Scherzer in Darmstadt and descriptions of the correction concepts and the early corrector prototypes that emerged from his group. Placed in this historical context, the latest advances in aberration correction for scanning and fixed-beam instruments that were presented in this symposium were all the more impressive and conveyed a vivid sense of history in the making. Applications of aberration correction to a broad range of materials were also highlighted in platform and poster presentations. This special issue of Microscopy and Microanalysis contains refereed contributions from the work presented at the symposium and thus provides a representative overview of the recent emergence of aberration-corrected electron microscopy (ACEM) and some of the prospects and challenges for this burgeoning field.
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