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From the 17th through the 19th century, beautifully artistic micrographs of living specimens were inextricably linked to biological discovery. However, for much of the 20th century, optical microscopy took a back seat to the powerful new fields of genetics and biochemistry. Starting in the 1980s, the tables started to turn again, thanks to the widespread availability of computers, lasers, sensitive detectors, and fluorescence labeling techniques. The result has been a Cambrian explosion of new technologies with the ability to understand the findings of genetics and biochemistry in the context of spatially complex and dynamic living systems at high spatiotemporal resolution. Dr. Betzig will discuss the role of his lab in this developing story, and show how an increasingly detailed look at life has increasingly revealed an intricate and beautiful world.