"My Electron Microscope Experience"
Copyright © 2009-2018 Brigitte Silberhorn Tomassini. All Rights Reserved.
Brief History of the Electron Microscope
The Electron Microscope (EM) was invented in 1933 in Berlin by a German Scientist named Ruska.
In 1939 an improved version of the EM was accomplished by Ruska and von Boris.
The primary concept of an EM, compared to the Light Microscope is, that the EM Beam has a much smaller Beam Frequency than a Beam of Light, therefore it is capable of resolving the visualization of smaller particles, such as viruses, that could never be visualized before.
My Involvement with the Electron Microscope
It started when I asked myself at the age of 24, "What do I want to do with my life"?
I was sitting on a bench in the beautiful park of Oderzo, the small town in Italy where I was born on Christmas Day the 24th in 1926. The answer that came to me may be considered "odd", as I realised that I wanted to work in a field that required 20/20 vision eyesight.
Many years later, the opportunity came my way, when a neighbour told me the news about a job opening at the Research Institute of Health in Rome (Instituto Superiore di Sanita), which would qualify me for the apprenticeship as an EM Researcher.
A test of visual acuity was performed, and I was selected for the job.
So my training as an Electron Microscopist started at the Institute of Health Research Center in Rome Italy and in one day I had been catapulted into the astonishing world of International Science. My fascination grew daily about my study and about the amazing environment I had entered:
The Institute had 2 Nobel Prize Winners, one from Hungary and one from Switzerland. And not to forget that the Director of the Physics Laboratory, my supervisor, was doing research together with his friend Enrico Fermi, the inventor of the Atomic Pile in Chicago.
From 1950 to 1960 I operated the only Electron Microscope available in the whole of Italy.
All of the Italian Scientific Universities came to my EM Laboratory, and maybe even most of the world.
International production and availability of EMs started in 1960 in several countries.
For example, in the USA the EM was produced by RCA, in Holland by Philips, in Japan by Hitachi.
After my 10 years experience at the Rome Institute, I felt a call to go into the Unknown and specifically to go to the USA.
It was 1963 and I was already 37. I knew that if I did not act upon this dream right then and there, it would never happen.
A researcher who had just returned from the USA strongly refered to me the renowned laboratory of the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. After contacting them, I received an immediate offer and the money to buy a ticket for my journey to the States.
I did not want to take a plane, I preferred the other option:
a 7-day-trip on the Transatlantic Ship "Michelangelo" from Naples to New York. It was a bellissimo experience, and when the ship arrived in New York and passed the Statue of Liberty, I was about to begin my new life in the New World.
In Philadelphia, the then Chief Researcher, Klaus Hummeler, had been looking for an experienced Electron Microscopist, and I was the one who had the privilege to start my work in the brandnew Electron Microscopy Laboratory... the rest is history, as the saying goes, namely my 33 year history of managing and operating the Electron Microscopy Research at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.
My research work has produced a number of publications in collaboration with Klaus Hummeler and with several scientists from other science centers; the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia was one of them.
One of my accomplishments was that I was able to resolve the argument amongst scientists whether or not a type of white cell, called plasma cell, produces antibodies.
Some said "yes", others said "no". The problem was that the Plasma Cell could be discerned from other cells only by viewing it through the Electron Microscope.
The technique that I developed made it possible to transfer one cell that was selected under the Light Microscope to the Electron Microscope, without losing it through the many steps required for viewing it under the EM in order to see the cell's infrastructure. This way it could be established with certitude that the cell found under the Light Microscope was the antibody-producing plasma cell!
Another accomplishment of mine was in regards to the Rabies Virus.
The treatment of Rabies infections, caused by infected dog bites, in many poor countries was a major concern to the World Health Organization (WHO). The treatment by belly injection of uncleaned anti-Rabies solution was not working.
I was able to show through the Electron Miscroscope the step by step process of how the Rabies Virus infects the cell, and as a result the scientists could develope a clean effective anti-Rabies treatment with no painful side-effects!
In the 70s I met Dr. Carlo Croce, a brilliant young scientist who had just arrived from Italy in order to work at the Wistar Institute.
We worked together on several projects until my retirement in 1996. I published a major paper on Cell Structure with him.
The friendship and work that we shared in those days is a fond memory of mine indeed, and I wish him all the best for his future work.
Today Carlo Croce is a world renowned Geneticist at the Ohio State University making breakthrough discoveries in diagnosing and treating cancer. Link here
When I came to Ramtha's School of Enlightenment in Yelm Washington, I realised what a wonderful "side-effect" my work of many decades as Electron Microscopist has had for me:
The ability to FOCUS, because it required more than 20/20 eyesight to find and study for hours and hours microscopic specimen, e.g. viruses, cell interior membranes etc., it required absolute focus!
I loved my profession, my research work, the awe and wonder I encountered every day under the Electron Microscope. With passion and dedication I studied the many different biological specimen... and there are times when I miss my phenomenal laboratory.
However, I may have retired from my profession but my studies have continued since then. It's a new study, a new adventure, and again the beginning of a new life.
I have now been studying for over 20 years at Ramtha's School of the Mind about the greatest enigma: Myself.
The knowledge I am gaining from Ramtha® supersedes everything else that is being taught on the planet and I am in great joy that I discovered this legendary School!
So the Journey continues with awe and wonder!
I am grateful for my life and for my experiences that have brought me wisdom now at almost 83.
But what are 83 years when you plan to live at least for 200 years!
I can say that I am happy! Yet there is so much more I want to become.
I love my life with my beloved wife Brigitte.
She is a true inspiration to me.
She is a doer, not just a philosopher.
She walks her talk and I thank her for that and for her love, her sincerity, and her mind.
And I bless everyone who I have met in my life so far.
And I bless and love all of my family.
Thank you all!
And thank you Steve Klein, who gave me that final so-called "kick" to sit down and to write this, after my wife had asked me for years to write about my life.
I'm glad I now did!
Yelm, 22 November 2009
Copyright © 2009-2018 Brigitte Silberhorn Tomassini. All Rights Reserved.