My First Experience With Microscopy In Grad School

It was in high school, about a decade ago, when I first viewed onion peel cells under the microscope. It was fairly easy. I was newly learning on how the magnification is achieved in a compound microscope. However, my biology teacher had worked on the adjustments of the compound microscope and I had just worked on preparing the slides.

It is early October of 2018, and I encountered with microscopy as a mandatory part of my Biomedical Engineering course. Identifying several components of the cells derived from the human finger skin (transverse section) was particularly challenging, given that I am from Mechanical Engineering background. However, my classmates Eli from Germany and Ram Babu from Nepal were of great help and they were tutoring me throughout the class.

This blog dives into my interesting findings beyond the classroom learning and my approach with microscopy thus far. If you have got some opinions on improving microscopy skills, please comment below. I would love to have you on board.

Should I Wear Specs While Performing Microscopy?

microscopy with specs
Microscopy with specs

I have myopia or short-sightedness and I wear specs. After Dr. Brook asked the class to determine whether they left eye dominant or right eye dominant, this question lingered in my brain for quite some time unless I had a plausible explanation for this.

  • You can remove specs while viewing slides if you have myopia or hypermetropia.
  • The microscope lens can’t correct for Astigmatism. So, in this case, you have to wear specs.
  • If you have myopia or hypermetropia and you decide to wear specs, adjust the focus and interpupillary distance to get a single circle for your field of view.
microscopy with specs

However, you can always project your images on a TV screen or monitor by mounting a camera to the microscope using a trinocular tube. You can even DIY your own mount using PVC pipes and some T-mounts. Here is how you can mount a DSLR for viewing your stained samples.

DSLR mounted to microscope
DSLR mounted to microscope (Courtesy: GT Vision )

3 Unusual Applications Of Köhler Illumination


1. Illuminated Toilet Seat

2. Bathroom Mirrors

3. Medicine Cabinets


Microscope Photography

Hair Follicles Under The Microscope
Hair Follicles Under The Microscope

The above photo was clicked by me in my first Anatomy practical. I was impressed by the multitude of colors. Surfing the web led me a page where microscope photography has enthralled several other photographers. Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is now in its 44th edition.

Take a look at the Pacman-shaped microscopy photograph of living Volvox Algae clicked by Jean-Marc Babalian, rector at an organization in France.

Photomicrography of Living Volvox Algae
Living Volvox Algae Releasing Daughter Colonies (100x Magnification) Courtesy: Nikon Small World

I have 12 lab sessions of microscopy this semester. I look forward to clicking some interesting microphotographs.






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