The hidden world of microscopy is a vast and intriguing realm. The thousands of “wild animals and plants” that can only be seen in a single drop of pond water rivals any African safari in terms of diversity and beauty. Most of us will never look through a $50,000 microscope at a properly prepared specimen so, for more than 200 years, only the microscopists have been privy to this world and we have only glimpsed it through their eyes. Hence, our perception of this amazing landscape is only as good as the ability of the researcher to bring all of the wonder and glory of that hidden world to us in the form of stunning imagery. While today’s state of the art research microscopes are capable of incredible resolution, all too often the visual record shows that the photographic skills of many researchers are mediocre at best. It’s like paying $10,000 to go on an African safari but all the wildlife you came to see was obscured by bad weather—you’d be disappointed! To see the difference between “good weather” and “bad weather” under the microscope, check out the two clips below of the same micro-organism, Parameciumaurelia, and then answer, which “safari” would you rather be on?
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