MICSCAPE - Exploring the miniature world

Issue 291 : June 2020 (ISSN 1365 - 070x) Monthly, next issue July 13th 2020.


Parachute fibres from cottonwood seed.
Image by Christian Autotte.


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Micscape Editor:
David Walker
Email: micscape AT ntlworld DOT com

Please do not contact the above for image permissions. Each article contributor retains the copyright to their material so should be contacted directly via the link in the relevant article. Thank you.

Comments on Micscape and contributions welcomed.
Contributions: Any modern format welcomed i.e. pdf. doc/docx with embedded images, or html + jpegs.

Snow in summer? - Christian Autotte (Canada) explores the macro and microscopic features of the cottonwood tree when in bloom including scenes showing the tree in a local context. PDF

Review of the Duo Scope starter kit - Bill Resch (USA) assesses one of the more usable toy microscope kits which are currently available. PDF

Calcareous stuff, part 2 - Richard L. Howey (USA) shares a second attractive gallery to illustrate the wide variations in forms from Nature.

The 3D macroscope project by Ahron Wayne - Mol Smith (UK) compiles a page summarising the project including a Kickstarter link.

Exploring classic insect test objects for the optical microscope: IV - The scales of Lepisma saccharina, the silverfish - David Walker (UK) explores a subject which remains of interest to the amateur microscopist and to scientists in the field of photonics.

From the Archives. Ten years ago. The complete June 2010 issue.

Imaging protists. Problems and suggestions - Richard Howey (USA) provides advice for photographing these potentially tricky subjects.

A close-up view of the 'Origami' columbine - Brian Johnston (Canada) illustrates this plant's interesting features on the macro and microscopic scale.

Microscopists, health, and war against narcotics and terrorism - Walter Dioni (Mexico) comments on the increasing difficulties experienced by enthusiasts when obtaining reagents, with suggestions for future approaches.

An overview of human cells for light microscopists. Part III - human eyes and insect eyes - Mol Smith (UK) continues his multi-part series on the value of 3D modelling in microscopy education.

A convenient method of photomicroscopy - Wan Yu (China) shares simple methods of digital photomicrography using a student microscope.

A 10 minute use of a microscope - Bill Resch (USA) finds good reasons on the microscopic scale for being wary of eating some still 'in date' cooked meat.

Spike's Gallery 4. A selection of images of unicellular organisms - Spike Walker (UK) shares a striking selection of images which illustrate the value of different contrast enhancement techniques.

Safe mounting media for microscopy. Ten years after. Part 2. - Walter Dioni (Mexico) continues his reassessment of the relative merits of the mountants he described in an earlier series, to see which have good archival properties. This month he assesses gum arabic and other resinous media. Editor's note June 2020, now sadly passed away.

Those other Suter slides - Peter Paisley (Australia) presents convincing evidence for identifying some unattributed slides made by Suter.

A close-up view of the wildflower dandelion - Brian Johnston (Canada) illustrates the macro and microscopic features of this wild flower.

Topical tip: Notes on simple direct coupling adapters for attaching digital cameras to microscopes - David Walker (UK) shows some of the commercial designs available for attaching consumer digicams or DSLRs to a microscope; with comments on their relative merits.

    In Focus: Thank you to Ahron Wayne who contacted us about his ingenious and fascinating projects on 3D microscopy. He has developed and built his own cost effective rigs to spin subjects such as insects on multiple axes while taking macro images. These images are then processed to create 3D movies. Ahron writes:

    My name is Ahron Wayne. I'm a student at Lawrence Tech in Southfield, Michigan finishing up a Master's in biomedical engineering. Most of what I do is work on new techniques for motorized microscopy, largely on the cheap. .... My first major project that has been wrapped up was a 3D scanner for very small things, made almost entirely out of Blu-Ray players. It works by performing 3D scanning on top of 2D scanning, so you can get surprisingly big/good images of small objects from all sides using one of those really cheap USB microscope as your optical system.
    Lately I've been trying to improve upon this system with better mechanics and optics, using for instance a 3D printer with up to 5 axes of motion control and a decent USB microscope. I've started stacking and stitching  large 2D scans of thousands of images, and am trying to incorporate machine vision for things like PCB inspection and automatic insect tracking

    Update June 3rd. Ahron's project is now seeking funding via Kickstarer, follow the link to learn more.

    We are delighted to receive contributions small or large from microscopy enthusiasts whether a novice or expert. If you have an image, tip or article, why not share it, this magazine is what you make it!


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External links. Updated April 2020. Below are some of our favourites, which includes sites with extensive links and/or resources for the optical microscopy enthusiast.

External Microscopy forums: Places to discuss the hobby or to raise queries.
forums, galleries, articles on macroscopy and photomicrography.

groups.io (formerly Yahoo groups):
Amateur Microscopy
Diatom Forum
Microscopy as a hobby or profession
Wild Microscopes

Facebook groups:
Amateur Microscopy (>6000 members, very active). Also specialist groups e.g. for users of given maker's microscopes (e.g. Zeiss, Olympus, Wild, Vickers). Also try a Facebook Group search with keywords like microscope or microscopy to find these.

Microbe hunter the website ably run by Oliver Kim has built up a popular and valuable forum with help for both the beginner and more advanced user.

'Forum for marine, freshwater and terrestrial algae'. Access to Archives possible for non-subscribers.
Diatom-L 'Research on the diatom algae.' Access to Archives for subscribers only. Link was current March 2016. Many online diatom resources point to an outdated Indiana Univ. listserver. (With thanks to Rob Kimmich for the current link.)

Mikroskopie-Treff.de (Extensive German microscopy forum; some English categories.)
Mikrobiologische Vereinigung München e. V. Wide range of articles and resources in German.
Le Naturaliste French based forum and image gallery for micro / macro but open to non French speaking international contributors.

Other sites (also see Societies and Clubs page.)
Royal Microscopy Society Journal, 'infocus' and other resources for members and the community.
Quekett Microscopical Club Journal, Bulletin and meetings for members.
Light Microscopy Forum links and articles
Little Imp Publications public domain books collated by Steve Gill formerly on CD and now free on Micscape.
Mikroskop Museum German website with resources on microscopes / makers .
Molecular Expressions awesome optical microscopy resources
Dennis Kunkel's SEM images stunning images
Diatoms Ireland - resource site by Leszek Wolnik
Leitz museum an illustrated resource compiled by Robert Allen
Microbe hunter microscopy enthusiast website, forum and magazine edited by Oliver Kim
Microscopies online magazine and Forum for French speakers
Micrographia articles, projects for the enthusiast
Microscopy Today
journal with online archive
Modern Microscopy
online journal by McCrone Group
Fun Science Gallery projects, articles on optics in English and Italian.
Independent Generation of Research (IGoR) - Wiki style resource for citizen scientists to share their work.
Lens On Leeuwenhoek - extensive resource online by Douglas Anderson
Collected Letters of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek ('Alle de Brieven ..') transcribed and free online at DBNL.
A Cabinet of Curiosities a resource on Victorian microscope slides by Howard Lynk
Klaus Kemp's 'Diatoms' website - offers regional strews and arranged prepared slides of diatoms, an 8 form test slide, radiolaria, insect scales etc and prepares arranged slides on commission.
'Diatoms Ireland' resource by Leszek Wolnik
Historical makers of microscopes and microscope slides Brian Stevenson's extensive resource .
Victorian slide makers
Cambridge rocking microtome resources including manual
www.willemsmicroscope.com Dutch enthusiast Willem Cramer's website
David Jackson's Better Microscopy blog. Regularly updated free resources extending from his 'Better Microscopy' series of books.
Stefano Barone's Diatom Shop
sale of his own prepared and arranged slides of diatoms, radiolaria, forams and scales.
www.testslides.com website devoted to Stefano Barone's Diatom Lab test slides.
Darwin Biological a UK company for 'biological education' supplies. Including live cultures of protozoa and algae.
Microscopie van de Natuur Dutch microscopy resource site by Rolf Vossen.

parent site coordinator:
Maurice Smith

Microscopy-UK and Micscape - established 1995
Micscape is a free magazine for enthusiasts funded by Microscopy-UK and dedicated to non-commercial microscopy.
© Onview.net Ltd, Microscopy-UK, and all contributors 1995 onwards. All rights reserved. Main site is at www.microscopy-uk.org.uk