Abbe Award @ EAS

2006 Recipient Dr. John C. Russ

Electronic sensors these days look at everything from Mars to microscopic objects. The awards committee at NYMS was determined to honor this year a microscopist whose life work reflected the fusion of microscope optics and electronic sensors. Our recipient, Dr. John Russ, has been involved in this development from its infancy. His books on Image Processing are classics on the shelves of countless microscopists.

After receiving the Abbe Award from NYMS president Pete Diazcuk, Dr. Russ addressed the guests with a presentation entitled:

“What has Image Processing done for (and to) Microscopy?”

This talk looked at vision in creatures from birds to horses and then compared the strengths and limitations of the human eye and brain to those of the electronic sensor and processor. Lucid and artistic illustrations helped getting the point pleasurably across. For example in two frames filled with numerous dots their arrangement appeared to be equally random yet numerical analysis of the distances showed patterns in one of the frames that had escaped human vision. Other examples dealt with the dependence of resolution on contrast and numerous optical illusions demonstrating that conclusions based on what we see may not always be reliable. Conversely, Dr. Russ allowed that there is the danger of asking certain questions merely because the instrumentation can answer them. Dr. Russ’ talk set the stage for the next speaker, his son Christian, who had helped to cast many of his father’s ideas in computer code. Christian Russ also reminded us of the very modest beginnings of the PC and the fanaticism of early geeks to harness their inadequate power for imaging projects against all odds.

Pete Diazcuk presents Dr. John Russ with the Ernst Abbe Memorial award.

Four invited speakers then presented papers in honor of Dr. Russ about the state of image processing and analysis today which rounded out this satisfying event.

  1. Spectrum Imaging: A Pixel is Worth a Thousand Channels. Louis M. Ross, University of Missouri
  2. The Importance of Observing in Two Dimensions but Realizing in Three Dimensions. Hamish L. Fraser, The Ohio State University
  3. The Role of Microscopic Imaging in Drug Discovery. Michael A. Easterman, Lilly Research Laboratories, Inc.
  4. Quantitative Image Analysis: Time and Timeliness. F. Brent Neal, Milliken Research Corporation

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