At last the book is finished – and I have now been asked to put my mind to the Preface! It occurs to me that writing a Preface is a unique art form. Admittedly, after limited research into Preface-writing, I propose, like innumerable authors before me, to start with the usual whinge – yes, to paraphrase Mrs Beeton from the Preface of her famous cookbook, if we had known ‘. . . what courageous efforts were needed to be made’, I am quite sure that we would never have started this enterprise. However, it is clear that one of the sensible reasons for co-authorship is that it has, at least, halved the agony for each of us.
In a sense, our book could be considered a kind of ‘cook-book’ – a cook-book for any reader who is interested in image processing and microscopy as a means to a materials science research end. Over the past two years, the original form of the book, as previously discussed with Patricia Morrison in 1999, has changed dramatically, but we hope, for the better. We have tried to minimise the mathematics that underpins these topics, and have concentrated on the practical issues (and pitfalls) one comes across when acquiring and analysing image data using various microscopic and tomographic measurement techniques. We have also made a real effort to expunge all spelling and grammatical faux pas and believe that, scientifically, the equations are correct and the conclusions presented (such as they are) are sound. In view of the speed of evolution in microscopic measurement techniques, this book can only hope to be a snapshot of the current situation and we suggest that readers follow the latest research articles in journals like the Royal Microscopical Society’s Journal of Microscopy to keep abreast of future developments. Also, you might like to keep checking our Department of Physics and Astronomy website here at the University of Leeds to see our latest 3D reconstructions.