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Visions of Cell BiologyReflections Inspired by Cowdry's "General Cytology"$
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Karl S. Matlin, Jane Maienschein, and Manfred D. Laubichler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226520483

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226520650.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 09 December 2019

Methodological Reflections in General Cytology in Historical Perspective

Methodological Reflections in General Cytology in Historical Perspective

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 4 Methodological Reflections in General Cytology in Historical Perspective
Source:
Visions of Cell Biology
Author(s):

Jutta Schickore

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226520650.003.0004

In his preface to General Cytology, Edmund Cowdry explicitly noted that the plan had been to mention methods of investigation “only when necessary”. Several contributors pointed out that detailed discussions of methods were out of place in a textbook. Nevertheless, references to methods and techniques are abundant throughout the book, and several chapters contain a fair amount of discussion about methods and sources of error in cytology. This contribution examines these methodological discussions. Outlined are some trends in the discussion about proper observation, illumination, and the application of chemical agents and connect them to earlier and contemporaneous debates about reliability and sources of error in microscopy. This shows that the methodological discussions in the General Cytology exemplify larger transitions in the methodology of microscopy and in the experimental life sciences more generally.

Keywords:   microscopy, methodology, techniques, reliability, error

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