Through the microscope

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Displacement reaction under the microscope

The first video shows what happens when copper wire and silver nitrate are allowed to react under the microscope. The video was recorded using Gladys, the Zeiss universal with transmitted light. Because the silver formed is not transparent it appears in silhouette. The pink background was achieved using a rheinberg filter.

The second video shows the same reaction viewed under a stereomicroscope using incident light. The magnification is not as great using the stereomicroscope but it is fun to see how the different types of microscope give a different perspective on the same reaction.


Missing my father

Something personal: My daughters were cleaning the brass elephants today. They used to be in my parents’ house but now they live with us. I used to clean them when I was a child and watching my girls enjoying themselves with metal polish brought back a lot of memories.

I miss my father. He died 13 years ago and I’ve never cried. I’m English, I find it incredibly hard to cry in private let alone in public. Stiff upper lip and all that…

My father was wonderful, he was delightfully eccentric (bow ties are cool) and slightly lacking in tact. He could be melancholy on occasions but he was also full of wonder. He sat with me in a field when I was about 11 and showed me a forget-me-not.
“Look at that!” he said, he showed me how the tiny petals had veins like larger plants, he explained how they flowered and how they produced pollen and seed. To him, a Christian, it was proof enough of the existence of God. He was almost overwhelmed by the beauty of nature.

A while back I looked in the mirror and I noticed something amusing. I’m ageing! Hardly unexpected, I’m not Dorian Gray, but it’s the way I’m ageing that amused me. My eyes are getting just a little a bit droopy. One is a slightly more droopy than the other. My father had blood-hound eyes. He had big bags under his eyes that gave him a sorrowful look. I seem to have inherited them, my eyes are definitely starting to go the way of the bloodhound. I rather like it. On the whole I look more like my mother so it’s pleasing to see his genes coming through.

My father said once that grief comes in waves. Large waves at first but they gradually decrease in amplitude and frequency. According to my father the waves never disappear completely, they just become part of the mental scenery. Small waves gently washing on the shore. I think he was probably right. He was a wise man, he knew stuff.

My father was a histopathologist. He would have had a lot to say about my microscopes. I miss him very much but I find it hard to show emotion so sometimes I go quiet and melancholy for a while. Just like daddy did.



Here’s a video I made earlier.
A thin section of sandstone viewed on a Nikon S L-Ke microscope with a PACO attachment. The PACO attachment is basically a circular polariser combined with some optical interference.

I must film this again, this was done with a cheap 1/3MP camera. I now have a canon EOS which is far superior.



Rotifers filmed via a Vickers microscope using a cheap 1.3MP eyepiece camera

Please leave a comment, I love comments!

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