100 DAYS OF SCIENCE:ASU's High-Resolution Microscopy Was Cutting Edge

By Beal, Tom | AZ Daily Star, September 6, 2012 | Go to article overview

100 DAYS OF SCIENCE:ASU's High-Resolution Microscopy Was Cutting Edge


Beal, Tom, AZ Daily Star


The heyday of the John M. Cowley lab at ASU came in the 1970s when noted physicist Cowley and his brilliant postdoctoral researcher Sumio Iijima were attracting scientists from other disciplines around the world to harness the power of high- resolution microscopy in their research.

Today the lab is more sophisticated than ever and boasts one of the world's biggest collection of scanning transmission electron microscopes.

It is no longer unique. Many universities now have similar tools and many of them are headed by physicists who honed their chops under Cowley.

"We're fighting our own success," said lab manager Karl Weiss. "In the last 30 years we have graduated large numbers of people and sent them out in the world and now we're competing against them."

The John M. Cowley Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy (CHREM) is now part of Arizona State University's LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science.

Eyring recruited Cowley and his research team from Australia in 1970.

Cowley was already highly regarded in the field. By the time of his death in 2004, he was a legend.

The International Federation of Societies for Microscopy bestows a John M. Cowley Medal for lifetime achievement in the field.

Its website calls Cowley "a leader in the field of diffraction, microscopy and crystallography."

ASU Regents Professor Peter Buseck said Cowley attracted researchers from around the world.

"That was the heyday," said Buseck. …

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