Birch stem. Light micrograph of a transverse section through the woody stem of a birch (Betula alba) tree, showing a portion of the xylem including some of the pith (bottom left). The xylem vessels (large circular holes) in the wood are in clusters but uniformly scattered (diffuse porous wood). The rest of the wood is made up of tracheid cells. The diagonal lines are medullary rays, which transport water and minerals to the outside of the stem as well as storing food. The solid pith is composed of parenchyma cells. Magnification x103 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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