The Worlds Within Our Body

Life magazine, January 9, 1970

”This extraordinary series of electron microscope pictures shows a large white cell known as a macrophage actually consuming dangerous invaders, staphylococci bacteria. To make these pictures, Photographer Nilsson scraped a few white cells from his own throat, obtained bacteria from Swedish bacteriologists and put them together under a standard light microscope – with a supply of penicillin on hand in case of accidental infection. As each white cell reached a particular stage in its attack on the bacteria, he stopped the process with a fixative chemical and began to job of preparing the specimen for the electron microscope – washing, cleaning and coating it with a delicate gold film designed to reflect electrons and, ultimately, produce the cell’s image on a phosphorescent screen. Nilsson then photographed the screen and, with the help of fellow researchers, added color that matched the original cells as closely as possible. The final sequence provides a remarkable record of the kind of crucial battle that goes on constantly – and invisibly – in our bodies.”

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