® Micscape Magazine Article WHY... MICROSCOPY?by Maurice Smith. (Page 2 of 3)


The keys of creation
Worlds within worlds, life within life! Our view  into the universe is limited only by our vision, our curiosity and the tools at our disposal. Right now modern technology is piercing the veil that obscures our probing, collective, mind from the secrets around us buried below the micro level.

For most people, such technology is too expensive to employ but an ordinary microscope, costing less than 100 UK pounds is affordable to all, and can plunge us deep into the heart of organic matter. Today, any man, woman, or child, can take a long hard look at the microscopic beauty other living things. It takes about 30 minutes to learn how to use a microscope properly, quicker than the time it takes for most people to get to grips with a video recorder.

Is Amateur Microscopy significant?
One hundred years ago, Amateur Microscopy was the 'thrill' of middle-class Victorian England. With the advent of modern technology, in particular - radio, television, cinema, photography, computers, and video - interest in this area has declined to a point where more people in the UK now spend their time knitting than practising Amateur Microscopy.

But public interest is slowly growing again. The very inventions which brought about the decline of this area of amateur science, are now the very things driving a resurgence of common interest. We, as a species, have lived through the critical years of 'atomic awareness'; a time where a single discovery offered a cheap source of energy or a terrible extinction. Our skills advance rapidly! We are poised on the brink of a new era. It has yet to receive a familiar title, but for now, we can call it - the Dawn of the New Age... or just simply: DNA!

On offer are cures for cancer, aids, illness, ageing... death! As with any new-found skill, dangers as equal to the potential benefits, lurk sinisterly in the background: extinction, mutation... abuse!

In all areas of science, we are looking increasingly more at the tiniest of things in our quest to bring about the most significant advances: Nano-technology for machines, fractal technology for computer data compression, quantum mechanics to understand the exotic and elegant primary laws which govern the very existence of everything we call our Universe!

There has never been a more apt moment or significant time for people the world over to introduce themselves 'gently' to this brave new world through the practice and interest of amateur microscopy: it is a way to begin to glimpse just what secrets are waiting to be discovered!

Re-discovering our world!
Humankind may well be taking its first faltering steps towards exploring other worlds, yet most of us have never really looked at this one. To gently lift any tiny sample from the planet's surface, and then to examine it in fine detail, brings the observer one dramatic step closer to appreciating their own awareness and place in the Universe.

It is fair to say that of the entire population of the planet at this time, none of us are ever likely to walk across the surface of another world. Microscopy is a means to an end whereby everyone alive now can tale a remarkable journey, both in mind and spirit, to alien environments - and observe billions of forms so different to our own human composition - that the mind is stunned by the possible variations.

One day, many of our off-spring will leap out towards the stars. Among their number will more microscopist-biologists than representatives from any other profession. Amateur Microscopy is the long-forgotten interest now being re-kindled to prepare our future generations to take on the most staggering opportunity ever likely to arise for our species.

Eons of engineering design and improvement
We spend billions of dollars designing, testing, and improving machines, systems, and other artifacts affording technological benefits. Each time something is invented we waste the learning experience already gained by Nature through its similar aim to create and maintain living forms against a multitude of different problems. Just a few hours studying processes, inherent in living forms - already proven and tested in design - could save years of effort 're-inventing the wheel'.

Want to design flying machines? Then look how Nature did it. Want to build efficient energy reservoirs? Look at any living cell! Wish to irrigate arable land at minimum cost? Take a look at the vein structure of a leaf! Want to wage mindless war and confuse enemy detection systems? Go look at a Mosquito eye, or a moth wing!

Whatever we wish to do... it's been done cheaper, better, and far more elegantly already down at the microscopical level.

Microscopy for ordinary humans
Many of us may not be budding scientists nor be interested in what science has to offer! We live in an age so full of scientific thinking and application, that many people feel we have lost the balance afforded by looking at ourselves and our world through different perceptions! Art, music, philosophy, religion, are also important 'filters' to use when understanding reality. Amateur Microscopy opens up a new vision of colour, imagery, and philosophical comprehension about life in all of its inherent richness.

A walk in the country, a moment near a tranquil pond, a stroll along a sandy beach become moments where small treasures can be sought, captured, and taken away for a closer look and further enrichment of the original experience.

Microscopy for children
Like any wisdom from a by-gone age such as that for stone-cutting, roof-thatching, and steam-engineering, Amateur Microscopical know-how has fallen into the hands of a vital few - who like majestic, noble, monks - preserve the 'knowledge and techniques'. With such practices, comes 'mystic' and often personal coveting of wisdom for its own sake. Personal awe and respect for what this knowledge and skill has to offer gain lead some people into arrogance and selfishness.

Buy a kid today a microscope, and it's a five minute wonder without the help and support of those who know how to use it and know how to prepare the things to be studied properly; some of life's little wonders are not so readily seen without a tip here and a hint there!

Well, that's where we come in! It is our absolute declared objective to offer help, guidance, know-how, support, assistance, and advice to anyone in the world, irrespective of age, sex, colour, or creed!

We know how! And we will show you everything we know!

Microscopy UK Front Page
Micscape Magazine
Article Library

Archived Jan.21st.1998 by Maurice Smith
Originally published in Micscape Electronic Magazine ISSN 1365-070x 1996
Originally published in Micscape Paper Magazine 1996 ISSN 1365-0696
All Rights Reserved.

© Onview.net Ltd, Microscopy-UK, and all contributors 1995 onwards. All rights reserved. Main site is at www.microscopy-uk.org.uk with full mirror at www.microscopy-uk.net.