About Microscopy

Ask a Microscopist

Microscopy is a field of investigation which is used to study objects which are too small to be easily viewed by the human eye. Viewing and studying objects that range in size from millimeters (1 mm ~ 0.04" = 4 hundredths of an inch) to nanometers (1 nm ~ 0.00000004" = 40 billionths of an inch) intrigues everyone and is currently applied to every field of science and technology in use today.

Microscopes, devices which magnify, come in a wide range of forms and use a multitude of illumination sources (light, electrons, ions, x-rays and and mechanical probes) and signals to produce an image. A microscope can be as simple as a hand held magnifying glass or as complex as a multi-million dollar research instrument. Using these tools, a microscopist explores the relationship of structure and properties of a wide variety materials in order to more fully understand the reasons why a particuliar item behaves the way it does. It is a fascinating disicipline which is applied to all fields from biology and chemistry to physics and engineering.

Ask a Microscopist is a project which allows students and educators at any school level to ask questions about microscopy or microanalysis to scientists.



Images of a Sewing Needle at different Magnifications.

Students and educators can enter questions using the electronic form below. These messages are forwarded to volunteers who then send back answers by Email in a few days.

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