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A Piece of My Mind |

The Joy of Discovery

Sidney J. Winawer, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Gastroenterology and Nutrition Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York
JAMA. 2015;314(11):1131-1132. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3388.
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What joy. Peering through my new microscope that Aunt Goldie brought from Europe. My first days in medical school and I had my very own microscope. A Leitz binocular, transported through customs in a big brown box by Goldie. Couldn’t do that now. She was a recent widow and worked out some of her grief by traveling. Alone. No children. I was her nephew, “adopted” over the years along with my sister. I was her favorite. It was her joy to bring me this gift.

I loved contemporary art—Miro, Calder, Appel, many others. The bright primary colors turned me on. Always have. Still do. Looking through my new microscope and seeing blood cells stained in hematoxylin and eosin—wow! What beautiful colors. Fire engine red. Midnight blue. Amazing! Like the circles by Miro and Calder, but human cells that had coursed through arteries and veins. What joy. A whole new world! This was just the beginning. Gastric pits, intestinal villi, dermal layers, epithelial linings of so many organs—I began to understand how van Leeuwenhoek must have felt.


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