Acta Stereologica



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Ewald R. Wiebel

Ideas and tools: the invention and development of stereology

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This paper reviews the development of stereology and the impact that the foundation of the International Society for Stereology has had on this process. It also presents some anecdotal observations about the foundation of this Society and the role played by Hans Elias. The last two decades are described as phase III in the development of stereology. The main achievement of this phase was the consolidation of basic stereological methods; they were made both reliable and efficient. Much effort was devoted to develop the technology of automatic image analysis, but this has resulted in deceivingly few contributions to stereology and its practical usefulness. we are currently entering the fourth phase, and must face new challenges, because the "classical" stereological methods have neglected the objective analysis of form. Morphological features of form and design are however most important characteristics of living systems. The challenge for stereology is to devise sound methods by which form and design can be assessed.

Keywords : morphometry, stereology

To cite this article

Ewald R. Wiebel, «Ideas and tools: the invention and development of stereology», Acta Stereologica [En ligne], Volume 6 (1987), Supplement II (The commemorative-memorial volume: twenty-five years of stereology) - May 1987, 23-33 URL :

About: Ewald R. Wiebel

Department of Anatomy, University of Berne, Bühlstrasse 26, CH-3000 Berne 9, Switzerland