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microscope

OLogy Series
tool
card
236

microscope

OLogy Series
tool

Scientists often need to examine things that are too small to be seen by the human eye, like bacteria or the tiny cells that make up living things. Since the 16th century, scientists have been able to see these tiny things with the help of a microscope. The most common type of microscope is the light microscope, which uses light and multiple lenses to magnify an object up to 1,000 times its actual size.

A light microscope can magnify an object up to:

10 times its size

100 times its size

up to 1,000 times its size or more

Are you right?

Correct!

Thanks to the microscope, people can see tiny objects that the human eye cannot detect on its own. A microscope can help us see cells, insects, bacteria, and other objects and organisms up to 1,000 times their actual size.

A light microscope works similarly to a:

stethoscope

refracting telescope

gyroscope

Are you right?

Correct!

Both instruments use lenses to gather light and create magnified images of objects. But while a telescope views distant objects, a microscope views objects close-up. A telescope must gather lots of light, so its objective lenses are much larger.

The first microscope was invented by a doctor 50 years ago.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Over 400 years ago, Zacharias Jansenn discovered the microscope. When he placed certain lenses over objects, they looked bigger than their actual size.

It is impossible to photograph an object through a microscope.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

With today's technology, practically anything can be photographed! Scientists can even photograph objects under a microscope using digital cameras.

Definition: instrument to observe objects too small to be seen by the naked eye
Aspects of image quality: brightness, focus, resolution, contrast
First invented: in the late 15th century
Used by: scientists in almost every discipline in science
Cool fact: Make your own microscope by holding two magnifying glasses over each other.

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH.