Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Seeing things: from microcinematography to live cell imaging

From histology to microcinematography, from cytochemistry to live cell imaging, the history of visualization technology in the life sciences may be understood as a series of cycles of action and reaction between static and dynamic modes of representing life.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Stills from Fertilization and Development of the Sea Urchin Egg by Julius Ries, one of the earliest time-lapse microcinematographic films ever made, filmed in Paris in 1907.


  1. Gottschling, D. in Epigenetics (eds. Allis, C.D., Jenuwein, T. & Reinberg, D.) 1–15 (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, USA, 2007).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Comandon, J. & Jolly, J. C.R. Soc. Biol. 75, 457–458 (1913).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ehrlich, P. & Lazarus, A. in Collected Papers of Paul Ehrlich vol. 1 (eds. Himmelweit, F., Marquardt, M. & Dale, H.) 181–268 (Pergamon, London 1956 [1900]).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Ries, J. Arch. Mikrosk. Anat. Entwickl. 74, 1–29 (1909).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Lewis, W.H. Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. 49, 17–27 (1932).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bellairs, R., Curtis, A. & Dunn, G. Cell Behavior: A Tribute to Michael Abercrombie (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1982).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Medawar, P. Memoirs of a Thinking Radish p. 63 (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1983).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Woodger, J.H. The Axiomatic Method in Biology p. 53 (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1937).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Tsien, R. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Bio. 4, SS16–SS21 (2003).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Ries, J. Chronophotographie de la fécondation et de la segmentation. Travaux de l'Association de l'Institut Marey 2, 225–228 (1910).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Landecker, H. Seeing things: from microcinematography to live cell imaging. Nat Methods 6, 707–709 (2009).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing