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Cryo-electron microscopy of vitrified specimens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2009

Jacques Dubochet
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG
Marc Adrian
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG
Jiin-Ju Chang
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG
Jean-Claude Homo
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG
Jean Lepault
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG
Alasdair W. McDowall
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG
Patrick Schultz
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Postfach 10. 2209, D-6900 Heidelberg, FRG


Cryo-electron microscopy of vitrified specimens was just emerging as a practical method when Richard Henderson proposed that we should teach an EMBO course on the new technique. The request seemed to come too early because at that moment the method looked more like a laboratory game than a useful tool. However, during the months which ellapsed before the start of the course, several of the major difficulties associated with electron microscopy of vitrified specimens found surprisingly elegant solutions or simply became non-existent. The course could therefore take place under favourable circumstances in the summer of 1983. It was repeated the following years and cryo-electron microscopy spread rapidly. Since that time, water, which was once the arch enemy of all electronmicroscopists, became what it always was in nature – an integral part of biological matter and a beautiful substance.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1988

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