Scientists are understandably wary of the word ‘revolution’. Major breakthroughs that shake the foundations of established thinking are rare compared with the small, additive steps by which science tends to progress. Yet when Werner Kühlbrandt at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, wrote about the promise of a microscopic technique that could reveal the structure of large biomolecules at near-atomic resolution in 2014, he chose as his headline ‘The Resolution Revolution’1 .
Kühlbrandt was referring to the potential of electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM), a technique that fires beams of electrons at proteins frozen in solution to reveal their structures.
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