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Microscopes A Fascinating Look At The Micro World - -

Within every object there is a hidden world so tiny that we can't see it. Before the invention of the microscope people never realised that there was a tiny world beneath our feet. Back then even scientists didn't realise that each and every one of us was crawling with bacteria.

Most of these bacteria are perfectly harmless, in fact we need them to survive. With the invention of the microscope back in the 16th Century, scientists were able to peer into this world and unravel some of the great mysteries that they had been searching for years.

Not only did they see bacteria, they discovered that animals and plants are made of millions of tiny little cells. It was later when the first discovery of bacteria was noted.

Microscopes have changed our world and the world around us. Without them we would not have even discovered germs that we take for granted these days.


Electron Microscope

The Early microscopes consisted of a single magnifying lens. Compared to today where they use several lenses. These days microscopes can see the tiniest object that even a few years ago would have been impossible to see.

Electron microscopes are even more powerful. Instead of using light, they use a beam of electrons which are tiny particles that are seen in atoms. These are so powerful they can magnify objects many millions of times.

The fascinating thing about Electron microscopes is that scientists use them to see even the most basic structure of living cells, plastics and metals.

With Electron Microscopes objects must be cut into thin slices in order to see them. Too thick and the light won't be able to penetrate the object, therefore not giving a clear picture.

There is however, another microscope called a Scanning Electron Microscope which can scan the whole object. This can show the scientists the whole picture of the insect for example which will be useful for studying various parts of the body.

The Scanning Electron Microscope is so sensitive it can actually show individual atoms! These are so small that a line of 0.5 million atoms would only span the width of a human hair.

How To Use A Scanning Electron Microscope - -

Inventing The Microscope.

Did you Know? Although the Romans used magnifying lenses about 2,000 years ago, the first real microscope appeared around the time of 1590.

It was built by Dutch spectacle makers Hans and Zacharias Janssen. Later, in 1663, English Scientist Robert Hooke studied insects and plants with his microscope. One of his first discoveries believe it or not was that cork was made up of tiny cells.

This caused great interest in the scientific world. Hence microscopes started making an impact on the world, and the science that we see today is based on those early studies and the first microscopes.

Optical Microscopes

The light or Optical microscope has two main lenses. These are called the objective and the eyepiece. For a higher definition they can add more lenses to give a clearer more defined picture of the object they are studying.

The Objectives as they are called can be anywhere between 10 times to 1,500 times normal size. This may not be as powerful as the Electron Microscope but is useful for home study uses.

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I remember my first microscope. I was so excited that I literally ran down to the river to find objects to study. I came home with jam jars full of tiddler fish, bits of tree bark, ants, and even a lump of dirt that my dad insisted was too mucky to have in the house.

But I diligently cut it to pieces, placing each bit on the table and telling everyone that there was something 'crawly' inside! After my dad stopped shuddering, and my mother wanted to know exactly why my dad had bought me it, we discovered that it was a tiny beetle. I remember seeing the light fall on its carapace. Green and shiny. Amazing how our memories work. If I had the chance I would get another one and do it all again!

How To Use A Microscope

public domain Bacteria

public domain Bacteria

Microscopic World


Bacteria are single celled and do not have a nucleus. They have one chromosome that carries DNA.

They are bigger than viruses but still can't be seen without a microscope. Bacteria have 3 classifications. In other words they come in three different shapes. Round, rodlike and spiral.

Bacteria are living creatures. They reproduce through a process called fission. Bacteria can be found in single cells or pairs and clusters.

public domain

public domain

public domain Moth Head

public domain Moth Head

Hydrothermal Worm

This rather scary looking creature (right) lives at the bottom of the Ocean. The photo was taken by Philippe Crassous using an Electron microscope.

It may look pretty horrendous but not to worry, its so tiny it cannot be seen by the naked eye. In fact its so small its similar in size to bacteria!

Using the Electron microscope, Philippe magnified it 525 times. Can you imagine being that small and looking like that?

I would think that it has to have some form of defence hence the teeth and horns. I am so glad its that small. Can you imagine seeing one of those staring at you, six foot tall? Erm well no!

Moth Head

The second photo shows one that is a bit more recognisable. Its simple a Moths Head. Fascinating to see it up close isn't it?

Take A Look At These Micro Photos, What Are They? Answers Below.

all photos public domain

all photos public domain

public domain

public domain

public domain

public domain


  • Blade of Grass
  • Red blood Cells
  • Dust Mites

Discover Your Own World Of Micro Organisms

A Tiny World To Be Discovered.

The microscopic world is a fascinating one. Beneath our feet are miriad insects bacteria and viruses that we could never have seen in times past. With the invention of the microscope those worlds have been opened up to us.

What will we discover next? I am sure that there are many more tiny cells, insects and amazing micro lives that will be uncovered with the invention of the next generation of microscopes.


Nell Rose (author) from England on May 30, 2014:

Thanks David, lol! yes I see them too! thanks so much for reading, nell

David on May 30, 2014:

Am I the only one that sees the happy faces in the blade of grass? Fascinating world we live in!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 01, 2013:

Thanks cathie, glad you liked it, nell

Hamza Arshad from Pakistan on March 31, 2013: many microscopes information in just one place.reaaly great information

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 12, 2013:

Hi Silver, lol! yes some of them are cute, others terrifying! I really want a microscope again, its so fascinating, thanks so much for reading, nell

SilverGenes on March 11, 2013:

Really fascinating hub, Nell! What a world we live in! The used floss was unnerving and I'm going to have nightmares about it LOL. Some of the other photos looked like spectacular landscapes and the beasties -oh my! I'd get nothing done with one of these microscopes and of course, I really want one now. The termites looked kind of cute... a bit Disneyesque peering together into the hole :)

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 11, 2013:

Hi Rolly, lol! yes I do don't I? just think we can't see them, thank goodness, but imagine most of those creepy crawlies are around us as we speak! thanks so much, hope you got my facebook message? have a great evening, nell

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on March 11, 2013:

Hi Nell... you hang around with some very creepy looking friends... lol... a fascinating world we live in is it not. Thanks for sharing this with us... You are a gem my friend...

Many hug from Canada

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 05, 2013:

Thanks Eddy, Vicki and Glimmer, thanks so much for reading, I have been away for a few days, so its great to read your comments! nell

Claudia Porter on March 03, 2013:

I've always been fascinated by what microscopes see. Some of them are like art to me. I remember my chemistry teacher in high school said that the world is a very scary place when looked at through a microscope. What an interesting hub!

Vickiw on March 03, 2013:

Hi Nell, lovely Hub, so interesting, and so freaky! It is a fascinating world under the microscope. Wonder if those tiny THINGS, ever feel like celebrities do, being scrutinised for public pleasure! Really a masterpiece.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 01, 2013:

So interesting Nell;you have certainly done your homework here.

Have a great day.


Nell Rose (author) from England on February 27, 2013:

Hi wqaindia, thanks so much! glad you liked it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 27, 2013:

Haha! sorry lily! just think there are loads of them! lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 27, 2013:

Hi Pamela, thanks so much, yes those creepy crawlies are a bit yuck aren't they? lol! glad you liked it, nell

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 27, 2013:

I would love to be able to look through one of those microscopes. I knew there was a microscopic world but some of those worms don't look too friendly. Even if we need them I don't like to think of what might be living in my bed. Nell, you did a great job with this hub. I sure learned a lot!

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on February 26, 2013:

Aghhh ! Dust Mites! Thanks, Nell, for showing me! haha! Love yaz, lily

Ashok Goyal from 448 Dalima Vihar Rajpura 140401 Punjab India on February 26, 2013:

Treasurer of Knowledge. Pinning and Tweeting to spread so that my fans could also see the amazing videos.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 26, 2013:

Hi Larry, that sounds fascinating! thanks for coming back, nell

Larry Fields from Northern California on February 26, 2013:

Hi Will,

Sorry, I don't know enough to recommend one brand of microscope over another.

Several years ago, I remember visiting one of the vernal (seasonal) pools in Sacramento County. These have a microscopic Fairy Shrimp species that isn't found anywhere else in the world. There was also a lovingly maintained exhibit, including a microscope with a drop of that water on the slide. I actually got to see the beasties swimming around. What a hoot!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 26, 2013:

Hi kathi, yes I noticed that too, how amazing was that? so old and beautiful too, you never realise just what they look like when sitting on the beach, when I go down to the sea again I will collect some to have a look at too under my microscope when I get my new one, thanks for reading, and great to see you, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 26, 2013:

Hi christopher, my old one broke years ago, but I am on the lookout for another one now, can't wait! lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 26, 2013:

Hi drbj, great hub about you from martie, loved it! that's a great idea, make a horror movie from those images, they are pretty yuck aren't they? lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 26, 2013:

Hi Stephanie, lol! yes I know exactly what you mean, but the trouble with me is that my curiosity gets the better of me, then I can't sleep! Thanks so much for reading, nell

Stephanie Henkel from USA on February 26, 2013:

It must be fascinating to examine our everyday environment with a microscope to get a close-up view of the unseen creatures around us! I'm not so sure I really want to know what kind of dust mites share my bed, though! Interesting article and I love the photographs!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on February 26, 2013:

It would be fun, Nell, to own and use an electron microscope. I would be so fascinated by the images I discovered, I would never get anything else done. If one is making a horror film, just blow up tremendously the images of the dust mites and hydrothermal worms, claim they are space aliens, and you will have a box office success.

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on February 26, 2013:

Great article Nell. You must have great fun with your microscope.

Kathi Mirto from Fennville on February 26, 2013:

Hi Nell, very interesting, the video was really impressive. I think I was most amazed by the sand crystals, you could see each grain was an oceanic fossil, some tiny corals, seashells and more. Very cool,

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi ruby, thanks so much, it certainly brought back memories for me too, glad you liked it, nell

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 25, 2013:

This was like taking a microbiology course again . Very interesting. The video was awesome. Thank's Nell....

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi carol, thanks so much for reading, its really got me interested again now, so watch this space! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi Martie, we just don't know half of what's on that micro level do we? thank goodness I say! lol! thanks Martie, always great to see you, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi Jools, wish it had been bed bugs, because we can more or less get rid of them, but dust mites? yack! lol! yes they are living a lovely life in your Dyson, lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi Deb, I think we all had something similar as a child, we forget as we get older that its not just for the kids, I am going to get myself one after writing this, it caught my eye in a shop hence the hub, so when I get a bit of extra cash I am going to go exploring, lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi Will, yes our Larry is a clever guy, I would love to go hiking with him, microscope in hand and a small fishing rod or net, now that would be a great afternoon! lol! yes the pond water is so full of life, we always took our fishing nets to the river or ponds, so many things to see, amazing life on a tiny level, thanks as always, nell

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 25, 2013:

I'm actually in the market for a good microscope. I had one as a boy, and I spent many fascinated hours peering at all sorts of things. I was particularly enthralled with a drop of pond water, and all the tiny critters that lived in it.

Perhaps you or Larry fields could recommend a good one!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 25, 2013:

There are sure some great things out there to look at. I recall having a small microscope with a geology set that someone gave me as a kid. It opened up a whole new world.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on February 25, 2013:

Nell, I guessed bed bugs (rather than dust mites), still glad I vacuumed today, they are now living in my Dyson I s'pose. I thought the blade of grass was a caterpillar though. Some of those underwater critters are freaky aren't they? Great hub, loved the pictures.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 25, 2013:

Fabulous hub about the microscope and the micro world. Just thinking about the fact that I am surrounded by millions of dust mites and bacteria makes me shudder. Excellent, Nell!

carol stanley from Arizona on February 25, 2013:

What fun to read about this. Stuff we take for granted and so much to see. Fascinating. VOting UP, Pinning. thanks for the great hub.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Hi Alicia, glad you liked it, and thanks! nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 25, 2013:

Thanks Larry, wish I had the know how, but it sounds fascinating, I just remember doing the simple stuff when I was a kid, and the excitement when I looked through the lense, thanks as always, nell

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thanks for the interesting hub, Nell, and for sharing the videos!

Larry Fields from Northern California on February 24, 2013:

Hi Nell,

If you're a biologist, and want to make a contribution to your field without traveling halfway around the world, head for the beach, collect a liter of fresh seawater, and start your research project, using an electron microscope.

The seawater will probably probably contain hundreds of bacteriophages that have never been studied before. These are viruses that eat bacteria. And they're more important than ever, in the light of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria.

Isolate a large sample of several thousand bacteriophages of the same type. Then expose subsamples of these beasties to each member of a 'library' of MDR bacteria: tuberculosis, MRSA, etc.

Of course, you'll need to do DNA analysis and other biochemical work after the gee-whiz preliminary study. And that's the expensive part. Which viral gene(s) code for the proteins that are responsible for the bacterial vulnerability that you've uncovered?

Voted up and beautiful.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 24, 2013:

Hi pras, thank you so much! I hope your students like it, science fascinates me and I would love to get another microscope. I remember those days well sitting at home peering into the lenses. Have a great week, and thanks as always, nell

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 24, 2013:

Hi, Nell. How are you today? I am hope you always healthy...amen. have wonderful information about microscope. I agree with you that it can be the window of the micro world. We can't see a very small thing without microscope. So, I learn much related with microscope. I'll show this hub to my students. Good job, my friend. Voted up and take care!


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