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Cells: Microscopes


Progress in cell biology is closely linked to technical advances in microscopes. The following table summarizes types of microscopes available today, their advantages and disadvantages. 

For many years, being able to draw microscopic sketches used to be an essential skill for biologists and medical doctors as it allowed them to document their microscopic observations and findings.

Today, we are able to take digital pictures of microscopic samples. They allow for a much greater reliability, much more detail and a much higher comparability of results. However, being able to draw microscopic sketches is still a very useful skill as it demonstrates acuteness of observation, attention to detail and the ability to adhere to a very specific set of rules. And even more than that, it is kind of fun. Just put on your favorite kind of music, and start sketching...

The virtual lab "Drawing Microscopic Sketches" offers advice on how to draw microscopic sketches and gives an example of how microscopic sketches might be graded in a classroom setting. But most importantly, it offers pictures of nine microscopic samples which can be used as a template for a microscopic sketch. Each sample comes with optional hints on what to pay attention to, and a sample student sketch. These sketches aren't perfect by any means, but they are pretty darn good for student work.

The following slideshow offers a glimpse into the virtual lab:

The full virtual lab is available for purchase in our Online Shop. 

(Cells - Virtual Lab - Drawing Microscopic Sketches)