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How can microscopes relate to you?

What are you curious to look at up close? What would you want to learn?
  • Slide under microscope in Friedman lab, Photo credit Zach Veilleux
    Slide under microscope in Friedman lab, Photo credit Zach Veilleux

There are so many affordable and easy to use microscopes available for purchase (and a few that you can make at home!), that both scientists and science enthusiasts alike are incorporating these optical machines into their lives. When you combine this with the power of sharing on social media, it is a win-win! Check out the many microscopic explorers out in the world who are also sharing their work online. What does this inspire in you? How would you want to explore tiny things to learn about the world, and just see cool stuff? Let’s zoom in!

Microscopes with a Cause

What if microscopes were accessible to everyone? What do you think would happen? Check out these groups who are bringing microscopes to the masses, for science, medicine, education, and FUN!

Foldscope: A paper microscope you assemble yourself

A small sampling of the Foldscope community posts.

In 2012, Manu Prakash and his team developed a portable, inexpensive, and sturdy microscope to help people conduct fieldwork. The design was so successful, that the demand extended beyond field sites, into classrooms and event homes!

Learn more about the Foldscope here, and take a look at what folks from around the world have seen using their Foldscope by visiting the Microcosmos community.

What would you look at with a Foldscope?

BioBus: Bringing Microscopes to the Masses (on a bus!)

Have you even been in a lab? Have you ever been on a bus? Have you ever been on a bus that is ALSO a lab?

BioBus is a science education organization that includes mobile laboratories to bring microscopes directly to kids in school. Learn more about this fantastic organization, and check out what they have in store on their Instagram page, and be sure to try some of their STEAM Challenges At Home!


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A post shared by BioBus (@biobus)

Microscopes and everyday stuff

Have you ever passed by a lake, river, or a pond and wondered what lives in there? Or maybe you’ve wanted to see what a pen or your food looks like up close. These Instagram accounts take you on a journey to explore all the amazing creatures and features you can find in the everyday stuff around you!


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A post shared by Sally Warring (@pondlife_pondlife)


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A post shared by Hunter N. Hines (@microbialecology)

It’s not an Instagram account, but check out what Dr. Ben Wolfe looks at when he studies fermented foods on Here is a snapshot of his explorations!

A cartoon (left) and microscopic image (right) depict the main morphological and size differences between molds (filamentous fungi), yeast, and bacteria. Credit: Ben Wolfe,

Makers behind the Microscopes

Nikon, Leica,  Zeiss, and Olympus are a few manufacturers for many of the microscopes used today. Engineers and scientists at these companies come together to produce powerful tools that allow us to explore the world around us, often resulting in amazing visualizations. The most incredible microscopy in the world is celebrated through Nikon’s annual Small World competition. This is a page that is definitely WORTH checking out!

Microscopes for YOU at home!

In addition to the Foldscope, there are a variety of microscopes for use at home. Some of our favorites include Zarbeco’s MiScope, which plugs right into the USB port of your computer (we use it with Apple’s PhotoBooth, which works great!). Check out Zarbeco’s Instagram page for some ideas of how the MiScope is used.

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