Histology and the Moon

1969 Apollo 11 medallion

What do you know about the microscopic structure of tissues? How does histology relate to the fiftieth anniversary of the first men to land on the moon? Allow me to make a tangential connection between histology and the moon.

Traditionally, first-year medical students acquire a microscope. Mine was a compound, Bausch & Lomb beauty. Histology students spend many hours studying human tissues and recording what they see. At the end of my first year, I received an unexpected award from my Professor. I lived off-campus and never studied at the med school’s library. I was so out of the med school’s insider loop that I didn’t even know there was an annual prize. My professor, Dr. Belanger, was a famous fellow in the world of histology. You can lookup L.F.Belanger (Leonard F. Belanger, Professor of Histology and Embryology, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa) and osteocytic osteolysis. My favourite Belanger quotation is, “He who rests on his laurels, wears them in the wrong place.”

My ‘Colouring Book Prize’ was the medallion pictured above and the thoughtful note pictured below.

histology hand-written note from LF Belanger

Background: Recently, when the fiftieth anniversary of the first men on the moon was in the news, my eldest daughter, Jen, said, “Dad, you should Instagram your coin.” I registered with Instagram years ago, but I’ve never posted anything. Instead, I elected to write this quick journal entry. Dr. Belanger’s kind gesture, tying histology and the moon together, brought a smile to my face, fifty years later, likely as he intended.