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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Sand Looks Unbelievably Cool Under a Microscope

•, By Liz Stinson
 Sure, it probably looks like bunch of unremarkable brown sand, and to the naked eye, you’re totally right. Except, the truth is, sand is very much remarkable, at least when you stick it under a microscope. “Every time I see sand under a microscope, it’s a surprise,” says Gary Greenberg. “It’s like treasure hunting, only the treasures are very small, and they’re not very expensive.”

Greenberg has been photographing bits of sand for years. He’s published a book on the subject and is writing another, due out next year. He’s what you’d call a microscopic sand grain photography expert, if such a title even exists. And his work is an amazing look at something we rarely give thought to.

His fascination with photographing sand actually goes back to his fascination with microscopes in general. Greenberg is trained as both a photographer and scientist (he has a Ph.D. in cell biology). While working as a professor at USC, he began to realize that the research he was conducting required a more advanced microscope. The miniscule depth of field in most microscopes wouldn’t cut it, so he began making his own with an increased depth of field, and did it in 3-D. “This way you could see what’s in the foreground and in the background.”

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