Author Archives: PB

Love in the Lab: Why Sexism is Still an Issue

Sexism in science reared its ugly and unwelcome head again recently when Sir Tim Hunt stood up on the 9th of June to address the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea. In front of an audience of …

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Helping Cells and Sections to Stick: Cleaning, Sterilising and Coating Slides and Coverslips

Although we very briefly touched on slide coating in a previous article, I wanted to describe in more detail the many ways in which slides and coverslips are prepared for different purposes including growing cells on them and helping sections …

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The Origins and Development of the Confocal Scanning Microscope

It all starts in New York City in the summer of 1927 with the birth of Marvin Lee Minsky. Following his high school education (and a brief stint in the US Navy during WW II), he went on to gain …

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Microscope Configurations: A Brief History of the Compound, Inverted and Stereo Microscopes

It is still unclear when the first microscope was invented and who was credited with the invention. The general opinion is that a Dutch spectacle/eyeglass maker by the name of Zaccharias Janssen (1585-1632) invented and constructed a microscope sometime between …

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Science and Politics: An Election 2015 Special

Please find below a summary of our Science and Politics: An Election 2015 Special  document. You can download the full document at the bottom of this blog for free. In summary: The Conservatives promise to train an extra 17,500 maths …

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Microscopes – They Don’t Clean Themselves!

There are three things which most research grade and laboratory microscopes share in common: (1) They are relatively expensive pieces of equipment, (2) They are delicate instruments with a complex series of components and (3) They don’t clean themselves! One …

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Koehler Illumination: A History and Practical Set Up

The method of Koehler Illumination is named after its’ inventor- August Koehler (1866-1948). When he published this technique in 1893, many of the sources of illumination for microscopy were reliant on natural light using mirrors, or chemical or gas lights. …

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Resolution in Microscopy

When referring to optics and microscopy, resolution is simply defined as the minimum distance at which two separate points in a field of view can be distinguished as distinct. We have looked at numerical aperture (NA) in a previous article …

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Numerical Aperture

Etched onto the barrel of each objective on a microscope, you will find a variety of information. In addition to the magnification and the optical correction (see my article published entitled ‘Looking Down and Looking Through:  The Optics of a …

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Looking Down and Through: Microscope Optics 4: Water Immersion Objectives

Oil immersion objectives are commonly found on most research-grade microscopes (usually 63X or 100X magnification). Immersion objectives increase the resolution of the microscope and increase the numerical aperture (NA) of the lens used (as I alluded to in my previous …

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