'Letters from Rio' by Roland Mortimer
(compiled by Dave Walker)

The Microscopy UK group regularly receive emails from amateur microscopists all around the world and we are pleased to offer the Microscopy UK Web site as a forum for people to share their interests.

Roland Mortimer of Rio de Janeiro sent us some interesting comments which he has kindly allowed us to reproduce here. Why not share some of your own thoughts on any aspect of amateur microscopy eg your particular interests, equipment, practical tips, local haunts etc.
Please contact us (see contact at page foot) for details on how to send material.

My local pond
Roland kindly sent us a snapshot of his local pond and writes 'This is where I do all of my pond-dipping. The water contains everything, amoeba, paramecium, diatoms etc. If you look on the far side with a lens you'll see millions of snails eggs' (pink spots on wall, arrowed). The snail which lays so many eggs is called Pomacea sp. The eggs are usually rose or even purple coloured. I have some at home and am waiting for them to hatch so I can film the young seeing the world for the first time. The female snail can grow to some size. I saw one which was as big as a fist. The pond is very near our house, at night when it's warm and humid, I like nothing better than to sit by the edge of the pond and listen to the frogs and toads calling. If you'd like a couple more photos of the pond and its inhabitants I'd be only too pleased to send you some. '

Microscopy on bank notes
Microscopy on stamps seems to be attracting increasing interest. Roland brought up the subject of microscopy depicted on banknotes prompted by our 'Microscopy on Stamps' article. He kindly sent two examples on old Brazilian banknotes and one is illustrated left. He writes 'Carlos Chagas is well known for his identification of the famous 'Chagas disease' transmitted by the bug you can see on the note. The microscope he is using is a Zeiss ca. 1900.'

This is the second of the banknotes sent by Roland who writes 'Oswaldo Cruz studied in Paris at the Pasteur Institute last century and the famous Oswaldo Cruz Institute is shown on the reverse of the note. Cruz is credited with developing the vaccine for yellow fever. The Institute is here in Rio and is Brasil's research centre for tropical diseases. I have been invited there by a biologist.'

Editor's note: Many thanks to Roland for sending his letters, colour snapshots and banknotes and allowing them to be used in Micscape.

Do you know of any media where microscopy is illustrated which may be of interest to others eg on your own countries banknotes, stamps (especially first day covers) etc. Please let us know.


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