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Johan Sebastiaan Ploem
(1927-Present)

Born August 25, 1927 in Sumatra, Indonesia, Johan Ploem moved with his family to the Netherlands when he was only 2 years old, where he remained for the rest of his youth. He received his education at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, Harvard University, and the University of Amsterdam. He has since been employed by a number of academic institutions, including the University of Miami, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Leiden.

The renowned scientist has been a physician, educator and researcher, but is most famous for his invention of the epi-illumination cube used in fluorescence microscopy. Ploem's vertical illuminator bears his name and is commonly used today. The design consists of an excitation filter, dichroic mirror (or beamsplitter), and a barrier (or emission) filter housed together in a small cube. In addition to solving lighting problems previously incurred in fluorescence microscopy, Ploem's illumination cube has made it a simple process to change fluorescence filter combinations by rotating a knob or translating a lever.

For his contributions to the practice of microscopy, Ploem has received various honors. He was elected as a fellow of the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute in 1977 and was a recipient of the C. E. Alken Foundation award in 1982. He is also a member of the Society of Analytical Cytology, the Dutch Society of Cytology, the International Academy of Cytology and the Royal Microscopical Society, for which he served as president in 1986.

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