Microscopy is a great tool for promoting interest in science, and the Core has always been a highlight for people visiting UCR. The Hitachi TM-1000 electron microscope is remarkably rugged and portable, and no special preparation is needed to get good images of everyday objects. It has been demonstrated live in schools, at the San Bernardino County Museum, at the UCR Botanic Gardens, San Jacinto Community College and in downtown Riverside.
With a new Hitachi TM4000 SEM in the core, the older instrument will now only be used outside the lab. The TM-1000 now runs on a rugged touchscreen laptop, and is on a fold-down cart for easy stowage in a minivan.
San Bernardino County Museum
On its first outing the TM-1000 was unpacked and ready in just 12 minutes. The curator's teenage son watched it being set up and asked if he could run the demonstration, which was attended by 400 small children! We ran it under a tree all afternoon, on a fold-up table with a single power cord.
UCR Plant Day
The Botany and Plant Science Graduate students put on a Plant Day every year for a local Middle School. We rotate 100 students in small groups through different stalls. The SEM has consistently been the most popular booth, with students playing "Guess The Object", and a lucky few getting to run the instrument themselves. Free micrographs for everyone, and one year we had glass-encased dried flowers as door prizes.
Science Fair CEPCEB Special Award
The Center for Plant Cell Biology awards Senior Division prizes at the Riverside Unified School District, and the California State Science and Engineering Fair every year; to recognize achievement in the fields of cell and molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics or technology development that will improve our understanding of plant cell biology. Pictured is the 2019 winner, David He of San Diego, and the volunteer judging team, David Carter, Honghong Wu, Bailong Zhang, and Kelly Clark.
Plant Pathology Day
The Microbiology and Plant Pathology Graduate Students organize a similar event for a hundred high school students, who get to see the more advanced instruments. This group is touring the million-dollar Zeiss 880 Airyscan UV Elyra PALM system.
Riverside Long Night of Arts and Innovation 2019
The SEM rides again! We ran the TM-1000 SEM outside the courthouse downtown, then packed it up to run it live at the School Of Medicine Retreat the next morning.
North American Butterfly Association 4th July Butterfly Count 2021
A long term audit of insect population health in Big Bear, our group found 20 species this year, out of a 49 grand total, which is about average (51). We can all help rescue butterfly populations by planting native food and host plants (e.g. California Buckwheat, Narrowleaf Milkweed, Deerweed, Black Sage), and leaving a messy bit in our gardens for nature to do its thing.