Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cedar Pollen Under the Microscope

Cedar pollen, for those with allergies, causes burning eyes, runny nose, itchy ears and excessive sneezing.  Cedar pollen allergies are typically much worse than ragweed. This is due to the biochemical structure of cedar pollen's protein coat, which appears to have properties that make it unusually noxious. The sheer quantity of the grains compounds these problems.

Image of cedar pollen captured with a biological microscope and the Jenoptik CT3 microscope camera.

Pollen is a fine coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants. Pollen grains have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Green-Winged Macaw Kidney

The Green-winged Macaw is a large, red colored bird found in the forests and woodlands of northern and central South America.

Photo courtesy of Arjan Haverkamp.

The Green-winged Macaw can be up to 49" with a total body length of 39" and will weigh approximately 2.5-3.5 lbs. This bird has a very powerful beak that can generate pressure up to 2000 psi, which can snap a broomstick in half. This powerful beak has evolved to crush or open some of the hardest nuts and seeds.

This image of a Green-winged Macaw's kidney was captured with a biological microscope and the PRC3 microscope camera.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Science Project: Chemicals and Food Under the Microscope

A fun science project that can be performed at home requires a quick run through the laundry room or kitchen to gather supplies. Using a high power biological microscope and slides, many of the following items can be viewed on a wet mount slide, or as a dry mount slide. Notice how the same item looks different under the microscope when it is dry versus when it is saturated with water. Try viewing the following items under the microscope. Start at the lowest magnification, get the items in focus, then move up to higher magnifications.

  • Epsom salts
  • Alum
  • Washing Soda
  • Salt or Sugar
  • Honey
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Moldy bread, potatoes or fruit
  • Soap (try several types - put a small film of soap on a slide to view)
  • Flour
 Sugar crystals under the microscope.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Microscope Science Project: Paper Pulp

For this microscope science project you will need the following items:
High school student microscope.
Student Microscope

Ask your parents to help you place a small amount of water in the blender with a small bit of paper. If your paper is thick it will take a while for the water to soak into the paper. Blend the paper in the blender until it is a thin pulp. Take a small piece out and place it on your slide, covering it with a cover slip. Place the slide under the microscope at the lowest magnification (40x). What does the paper pulp look like? Can you view the fibers of the paper? Clean out the blender and repeat the same process using newspaper. The newsprint should dissolve much more quickly. How different does the pulp from the newsprint look under the microscope? Are the fibers smaller or shaped differently?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gemological Microscopes

Gemological microscopes should provide rugged dependability, excellent optics and versatility with a variety of stages and accessories available. Jewelry designers and outlets use stereo microscopes set up with brightfield and darkfield transmitted illumination for viewing precious stones.

View a variety of gemological microscopes here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kids Microscope Project Ideas

Kids curiosity about science can often be satisfied with multiple microscope projects. Below are some ideas of things that can be viewed either with a low power stereo microscope or with a high power student biological microscope. If you have access to both microscopes - compare the objects under the two different microscopes. What do the items look like at different magnifications? Keep in mind, when using a high power microscope that the light will shine up through the object. Therefore, the items being viewed must be thin or somewhat transparent, in order for light to pass through them, and in order to see the specimen clearly through the microscope.

 Print on a holiday napkin.
  • Sugar and salt crystals (place these on a slide when using the high power microscope).
  • Fibers from yarn or wool (carpet works well!)
  • Newsprint (best viewed under a low power microscope with light from above).
  • Cork - thinly cut.
  • Thin weave cloth such as a gauze strip.
  • Bark from a tree.
  • Flower stamen.
  • Water from an old flower bouquet (place it on a depression slide, use a cover slip).
  • Spider web (mount directly on a microscope slide).
  • Celery stalk (stem or small cross section).
  • Insect wing (check your windowsill!)
  • Piece of hair (can you see the root using the high power microscope?)
  • Feather.
  • Soil.

Cloth weave captured at 40x with the MW5-LD2 digital stereo microscope.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stereo Microscope Magnification

Ever wonder what things look like at different magnifications under a digital stereo microscope? Below are some images to help you picture different items at varying magnifications.

Lens paper captured at 60x magnification using the MW5-LD2 60x stereo microscope.

String captured at 10x using the MW1-LD2 digital microscope.

Dollar bill at 40x magnification, captured using the MW1-LD1 microscope.

Quarter captured at 20x magnification with the MW1-LD1 microscope.

Hair captured at 90x magnification using the EMZ-13TR stereo microscope.

Capacitor captured at 75x magnification using the SMZ-168 stereo microscope.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ken-A-Vision Microscope New Arrivals

Microscope World is pleased to offer some new products from Ken-A-Vision, including the research biological microscopes with Infinity corrected optics.

The Ken-A-Vision T-29034 series of microscopes include Infinity corrected optics available in standard, semi-plan or plan. The microscopes are available in binocular or trinocular (for mounting a camera). These microscopes were designed with durability and ergonomic features in mind, at an affordable price point.

The Ken-A-Vision T-19241C comparison microscope was created for forensics and comparative science. This comparison microscope allows side-by-side comparisons of two slides as well as the ability to view each slide individually. The microscope has high-quality optics and precision mechanics. 

The Autofocus Vision Viewer 7880 is a document camera with 1.3 mega pixels that is easy to use and made to be nearly indestructible - perfect for the classroom! A pre-attached USB cable allows for simple plug-and-play use and all controls are handled with the computer mouse. Compatible with interactive whiteboards. Available in a variety of colors.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Veterinarian Microscopes

Veterinarians require specific features when using a microscope. High quality optics are essential for viewing parasites, cancerous tumors, bacteria, blood cells and other specimens. 400x magnification is used regularly, although 1000x magnification is utilized as well to view more details in specimens. Most veterinarians prefer a Siedentopf binocular head, for eye comfort while looking through the microscope. Digital microscopes are generally useful in a vet office, as samples can be labeled, saved to a chart, or emailed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fingerprint Science Project

Ever wanted to view your fingerprints in detail? Or compare your fingerprints to someone else's? This science project will allow you to view and compare fingerprints and requires only a few supplies. You will need the following:

Take a square piece of packing tape and press it firmly onto your thumb or index finger. Peel the tape off and without touching the sticky side of the tape, press the fingerprint portion onto a blank glass slide. Place the printed portion of the slide directly above the light on the microscope. Using the 4x objective (40x magnification) focus the microscope. If you are using a digital microscope, capture an image and save it. Then take another print and compare the two. How do they differ in shape and pattern? Collect five fingerprints from different people and label the slides. Do you think it would be hard to perform investigative work using only fingerprints as identifiers?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Digital Student Microscope

The MW1-HD2 digital student microscope includes a built-in LCD display screen for viewing live images by multiple students. This children's microscope includes software for viewing images on the computer (640x480) or 5 megapixel images can be captured to the SD Card by pressing a button beneath the LCD screen.

The microscope includes software, USB cable, box of glass blank and prepared slides as well as a carrying case.

Dicot captured with MW1-HD2 digital microscope using SD Card.

Human blood captured with the same digital microscope setup.