Portraits of the Mind

“Human Cerebral Cortex,” Alfonso Rodríguez-Baeza and Marisa Ortega-Sánchez, scanning electron microscope, 2009

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Fat tissue. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a sample of fat tissue, showing fat cells (adipocytes, blue) surrounded by fine strands of supportive connective tissue. Adipocytes are among the largest cells in the human body, each cell being 100 to 120 microns in diameter. Almost the entire volume of each fat cell consists of a single lipid (fat or oil) droplet. Adipose tissue forms an insulating layer under the skin, storing energy in the form of fat, which is obtained from…

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Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) cells from a human mouth. The many blebs (lumps) and microvilli (small projections) on the cells' surfaces are typical of cancer cells.

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Coloured SEM of sensory hair cells from the inner ear. These cells are surrounded by a fluid called endolymph. As sound enters the ear it causes waves to form in the endolymph, which in turn cause the hairs to move. The movement is converted to an electrical signal that is passed on to the brain. Each crescent-shaped arrangement of hairs lies atop a single cell

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Red blood cell on a needle, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Composite SEM of a single red blood cell on the tip of a needle.

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Fertilization. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a sperm (blue) attempting to penetrate a human egg (orange).

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Ruptured venule. Colored (SEM) showing stacks (rouleaux) of red blood cells exposed inside a torn venule.

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Nerve cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of nerve cells, known as neurones.

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