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Dee Breger Wins First and Second Prize in First Annual NSF/Science Magazine Award For Visualization

This image of Mongolian frost rings was taken by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory's Dee Breger and won First Prize in the first annual NSF/Science Magazine Award For Visualization. (Breger also took second prize with her breathtaking magnification of Black Sea pyrite.) These Mongolian frost rings are from a sample of Siberian pine tree collected by Lamont-Doherty's dendrochronologist Gordon Jacoby, and records the years 534-539 C.E. (left to right). The narrow, distorted rings for 536 and 537 indicate a drastic cooling in the northern hemisphere that froze sap in the cells during the growing season. Evidence for this abrupt climate change points to a massive eruption of the volcanic precursor of Krakatoa. Another theory invokes a cosmic impact that possibly triggered the eruption. Magnification ~ 19.32 X.
view more images by Dee Breger
Dee Breger, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has won both first and second prize in the photography category of the first annual 2003 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge -- a joint project of the National Science Foundation and Science Magazine, designed to "encourage recognition of the visual and conceptual beauty of science and engineering," according to the award's website.

Using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), Breger produces breathtaking images of objects in the physical world that are normally invisible to the naked eye. The images recorded through her work have helped advance scientific understanding though countless studies and cutting-edge research projects. They have been published individually in dozens of scientific journals and books, and have been used to illustrate many scientific presentations in classrooms and the public media.

Dee Breger has devoted her career to the art and science of electron microscopy. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin, and immediately found an opportunity to combine her training in art with her love for science as a scientific illustrator at lamont, where she soon began operating a transmission electron microscope.

Today Breger works as manager of Lamont's Scanning Electron Microscope and X-ray Microanalysis Facility, using top-of-the-line equipment capable of producing views of ultramicroscopic objects with a crisp, clear, three-dimensional quality and analyzing their elemental compositions. Breger has worked with over 225 scientists and graduate students from around the world, representing disciplines ranging from the earth sciences to archaeology to medical research.

A member of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is one of the world's leading research centers examining the planet from its core to its atmosphere, across every continent and every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists provide the basic knowledge of Earth systems needed to inform the future health and habitability of our planet


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