(ISSN 1365 - 070x)

Exploring the miniature world

Issue 101: March 2004.
Next update April 13th.


Image of a slide of sulphur prepared and photographed by Brian Johnston.
Recrystallised from a melt and photographed between crossed polars.


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Issue 101 - March 2004 : Articles this month

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The fascinating world of rotifers - Jean-Marie Cavanihac (France) presents an illustrated introduction to some of the common species; includes some delightful animations.

The 'handsomest' desmid - Bill Ells (UK) describes and illustrates an attractive desmid species Xanthidium armatum var. cervicorne.

Why I like darkfield illumination - Gregor Overney (USA) presents a fascinating illustrated article on the merits of darkfield illumination cf other contrast enhancement techniques.

Botanical microtechnique Part 2: Staining botanical sections - Jim Battersby (UK) continues his series with a selection of useful staining protocols accessible to the microscopy enthusiast.

A gallery of sulphur photomicrographs (using polarized light) - Brian Johnston (Canada) shares a stunning selection of images with guidelines for preparing slides of this chemical element.

Investigating the past of a John B Dancer microscope - Barry Miller (USA) describes his research into aspects of the history of a fascinating microscope which he owns.

Image gallery: Arthropods photographed using CombineZ software - Alan Hadley (UK) shares an attractive selection of images taken with the popular 'image stacking' software which he has developed.

The strange and the beautiful - Ian Walker (UK) presents a selection of images of prepared slides, including some of damaged and deteriorating slides to show how interesting images can be found in those imperfections.

Let there be light: Scoping with fibre optics - Ron Neumeyer (Canada) describes and illustrates a neat way of retrofitting a compound miroscope's internal incandescent lamp with a fibre optic light source.

Colour phase contrast - Rene van Wezel (UK) shows how to achieve colour phase contrast with a brightfield condenser, with illustrations of the potential of this technique.


In focus:
New publications:
'The petrographic microscope. Evolution of a mineralogical research instrument' by Daniel E. Kile. Supplement to the Mineralogical Record, Special publication number one, November - December 2003. 96pp. $20. Published by the Mineralogical Record, Inc. The Micscape Ed. is enjoying reading a copy. The carefully researched text is copiously illustrated with the finest photographs of microscopes and accessories I recall ever seeing in any book.
John G. Delly reviews the monograph in the McCrone Group's online journal 'Modern Microscopy'. Use Google to locate suppliers.

Online resources: The Zeiss (UK) website has a useful downloadable document entitled Michel LÚvy Color Chart - Polarized Light Conoscopic Determination accessible via their Zeiss Microscopes page (follow the links 'Infomateriel/Brochures' - 'Upright microscopes: Industry, to the brochures'. Downloadable in Acrobat pdf format, 2MB). As well as an excellent example of the Michel LÚvy chart, the document also includes an illustrated summary of interference figures types for different minerals. The 'brochure' web page also includes links to other interesting downloadable documents on microscopy in materials science topics.

Software: The powerful software package ImageJ (http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/), now has a module for extended depth of field (EDF) (see http://bigwww.epfl.ch/demo/edf/index.html for more information). Information and links kindly supplied by Gregor Overney.

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! Have a chat with us, to see how we can help share your interests.

Micscape Article Library
Look for that elusive article on our site:
Manual Search  (category search in our new extensively revised listing).
Automated Search  (keyword search: by subject, author, or list articles in a past issue)
Contributor index  (a list of all Micscape contributors to date)
News - special notices - misc.   
    Send us your news and meeting notices of interest to optical microscopy enthusiasts and we will be pleased to share them.
    Information on the Reading Microscopical Society (UK) and the 2003/2004 programme can be
    read here. Details kindly supplied by Kit Brownlee.
    The well known Frank Rowntree Meeting hosted by the Leeds Microscopical Society will take place on Sat. June 5th 2004. The meeting includes a lecture by Dr. Peter Evennett on Abbe's diffraction experiments. E-mail
    Mike Smith for details and who kindly supplied this information.
External links. 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.

Yahoo groups:
'Wild M20 microscope'
'Nikon Coolpix photomicro and macrophoto'
'microcosmo' for Italian speaking enthusiasts

(Extensive German microscopy forum; some English categories.)


Royal Microscopical Society's online forum
(follow Forum link)

Other sites

Light Microscopy Forum links and articles
Little Imp Publications public domain books on CD, 'The Amateur Diatomist' paper magazine

Molecular Expressions awesome optical microscopy resources
Dennis Kunkel's SEM images stunning images
Microscopies online magazine and Forum  for French speakers
Micrographia articles, projects for the enthusiast
Microscopy Today
paper journal with online archive
Modern Microscopy
online journal by McCrone Group
Fun Science Gallery projects, articles on optics
G. Couger's microscopy links extensive links
Society for Amateur Scientists resources and support

Web rings
Lightscapes polarised light macroscopy/microscopy, both artistic and scientific.

Microscopy-UK and Micscape - established 1995
  Micscape is a free magazine for enthusiasts funded by Microscopy-UK and dedicated to non-commercial microscopy.
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