Hey everyone! How are you today? Hopefully all is well and good with you! So I've been trying to think of something really clever to write about for the last day or so and I've had terrible writer's block. A common occurence for me, I know. Then I realized part of the reason I can't think of anything to write about is because I actually have something going on in my life! So what else is a blog for but to regale people with the minutae of your life? :D

My friend Jeff is sending me a real microscope next week! Not like a little toy kid's one, a real one from a lab! It might need some TLC and I know it will need a light, but he says other than that it's in good condition. I'm sooooo excited! I have no idea what the magnification of it is, either. He hasn't even shipped it yet but I can't stop thinking about it.

I've started a list of things I want to look at when I get it. I ordered glass slides which I'll get on Monday. So this is where you come in. First, I had to tell you because I'm giddy over this. Second, because I need your help. What will I be able to see? I really really want to be able to see bacteria.

I am so weird. Since I started on the path of skepticism last year, I've rediscovered a huge love of science, namely bacteria, for some unknown reason. When I listen to all the science podcasts I download, I am always amazed at the bacteriological stories most of all. Like all about e. coli, stories, and about how helpful bacteria is to humans and the world, all that good stuff.

I talked to my sister and she said I probably won't be able to see bacteria. Which totally bums me out. I don't know what supplies I might need, either. Do I need fancy stuff? I was wondering if any of you wonderful people have any ideas for DIY microbiology... resources, websites, etc. I mean, if people could figure this stuff out as early as the 1600's, and see bacteria then, why won't I be able to see them now?

Either way, I think this will be fun and exciting. I sure hope so anyway. So, if you have any ideas, resources, or suggestions, please feel free to share them! Oh, where will I go to identify stuff I see? Do I need fancy supplies? Ohmygosh, this is exciting! So any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!


  1. a great idea and fun !
    i can help by finding some stained slides saved over years...i will look.....and:you can see bacteria!!! ,i believe with 500 power......but they are specks........red or blue...so your e. coli would be a "gram negative rod" (blue stick like speck)
    one task a young medical prctitioner would have would be checking the discharge for a sign of an STD.......seeing "gram negative intracellular diplococci" meant gonorrhea......microscopes are used daily by small clinics staff but bigger places 'send out' such work to big labs....

  2. Check the web for info on Tardigrades (youtube has some videos) - they are very cool and you should be able to find them. I got my first microscope just a few weeks ago and bagged my first tardigrade last week! Now I need a camera to capture what I'm seeing so I can share it.

  3. SciToys.com is a site I Stumbled a while back, and have browsed some cool stuff on. They have a biology/microscope section with some info and cool tricks in it.

  4. Yay! How cool! Thanks Tim, you rock! I can't wait! :D

  5. I KNOW! I can't WAIT to look for Water Bears! I am also trying to figure out how to take pictures of what I see in my microscope. They make cameras that go into microscopes, but they are really expensive. We have to come up with an affordable way! If I find one, I'll be sure to let you know!
    Thanks Eli! :D What is the magnification of your microscope? I have no idea what mine will be. :P

  6. Awesome, Johnny, I'll check them out right away. Thanks very much!

  7. Mine is a a beautiful old Spencer AO (American Optical) from the '50s. The most powerful objective is 97X, which puts me at 970X with my 10x eyepieces. That objective is an oil-immersion lens, which I'm just learning to use; luckily, there is a lot of information for beginners like us out on the web.

    Keep an eye out for rotifers too - I saw some in action and it is amazing!

  8. How cool. I have no idea what my friend is sending me, except there is no light source and apparently it's a laboratory type. It's a complete mystery!
    I looked up rotifers, they are so cool too! Thank you for that. I can't wait till I get to see these cool little creatures myself!

  9. Noticing your replies above... That site has tips on how to take pictures through the microscope with a disposable camera.

  10. You're right! I read the page yesterday and learned quite a bit. I saved it so I can go back and try the suggestions. :D So the link was very helpful. I can't wait! Thanks so much, Johnny. :D