How to Explain Microscopes to Your Mum

The most basic model of a microscope has just one lens and is a magnifying glass with a very high magnification. These kind of basic models are called a compound microscopes which are good for schools, hospitals and research professional laboratories. The compound microscopes have at least two lenses which focus the light sent through the object that is being magnified. The lens that is above the specimen is called the objective lens and the other lens which is located near your eye is called the eyepiece or in other terms the ocular lens. These particular microscopes can magnify up to 100 times. Much larger microscopes have more lenses which increases the magnification these models are called electron microscopes.


So in a nutshell the most important components of a microscope are the lenses. Also light is very important, and on a microscope there is a hole that allows light through which illuminates the object in order to improve clarity. There are curved pieces of glass that controls the light beams that pass through them. Another important ingredient in how a microscope works is contrast. The microscope has a condenser or diaphragm and by adjusting this it alters the intensity of the light shed on the object. The narrow beam of light gives it a much higher contrast and clarity. When you need to magnify an object all you need to do is place it on the stage, there are usually clips that hold your specimen in place so that it doesn’t move therefore able to assess your specimen.

So now we have established the basic components of a microscope and their importance, what do we use microscopes for?

Our own eyes may be good but they cant see the zillion of things that are happening around us all of the time, if your eyes could magnify to the strength that microscopes can then we would be able to see the small germs that are all over our body! By using these powerful microscopes we can shed the light onto all these teeny objects that to the naked eye are invisible but through a microscope they become visible. As a result of this these very important machines they have helped us in research from teeny tiny atoms and cells, to the other extreme of being able to  understand and see the solar system and all the planets. They have helped science and research improve in a far greater pace, for example by being able to see cells its helped us understand how they work which as a result we have been able to tackle sickness and diseases.

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