11 March 2010

Lab equipment love #2

Continuing this week with some of my favourite things in the lab... Like my first selection, this is something that is basic but absolutely fundamental.

A good stereo dissecting microscope, with a mount for a camera.

Edward Tufte often argues that much of science is the story of increasing resolving power. The classic example was the telescope, which was celebrated in the last year’s 400th anniversary celebration of Galileo using the device for such great effect. Microscopes came slightly later, but also revolutionized thinking about the world.

When I bought this microscope, I bought a camera lucida for drawing pictures, something I’d use through much of doctoral and post-doctoral work. A good drawing could provide more information more efficiently than using 35 mm film then. I have rarely used it, since digital photography had made it faster and more efficient to take a lot of photographs and work with those.

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