Need to know what kind of microscope to buy.

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Offline qnine

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Need to know what kind of microscope to buy.
« on: 27/05/2011 23:21:54 »
Hola science peoples,

So I'm headed back to Haiti soon to continue to run a clean water project I ran last year and I'm looking for advice on a microscope I need to buy.

Basically, I want to get a microscope that can be taken out into the field, doesn't require an electrical outlet to function, and is powerful enough to reveal bacteria in water samples. It's for educational purposes - I want to be able to take the microscope into communities that we're installing clean water systems for so the people can actually see bacteria such as e.coli and cholera. Education is key in making these programs work, and letting people see things for themselves makes a big impact in their continued awareness and desire to make our clean water systems work over the long run.

Do you have any recommendations? The more affordable, the better. Any links to specific microscopes would be much appreciated. If there are any on that would work, that'd be ideal as I can bundle it together with a bunch of other stuff I need to order.



Offline imatfaal

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Need to know what kind of microscope to buy.
« Reply #1 on: 27/05/2011 23:31:54 »
Hi Quinn - no idea about microscopes, but I have done a fair amount of voluntary work overseas and have always found suppliers good about lending/giving/discounting equipment that was gonna be used for a good cause by educators/volunteers.  Takes huge chutzpah - but just phone and ask, or even better get an appointment and go and visit with some photos and details from previous trips.  If you are gonna be blogging or keeping a website up to date for friends/relatives/donors back at home - even better, tell the manufacture you would be happy to mention their generosity in big letters.   

Good luck with your venture any way
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Offline CliffordK

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Need to know what kind of microscope to buy.
« Reply #2 on: 28/05/2011 00:07:52 »
You can find various science kits with cheap monocular microscopes, and perhaps mirrors for light, especially the old ones.  They are often very cheap, but a big pain to use.

A "Medical School" microscope with a binocular objective is nice.  But, might not travel well, and may require an electrical light.

Dissecting microscopes are good, and easy to use, but may have troubles getting down to the size for looking at bacteria.

One of the new things that is coming out is digital microscopes for home-use.  It would require a computer interface.  But, again perhaps these are better for looking at bugs than bacteria.  The nice thing is that they will fill up the screen with whatever you are looking at.

Back to the medical school idea.  You might actually stop by your local medical school or biology department and see if they have any ideas for microscopes that could be taken on the road.  Perhaps they would have something sitting around in a back room.

Amoebas and Protozoa are much easier to see than bacteria.  If you are just interested in bugs in water, and not interested in what they are, then it is much easier to find the Amoebas and Protozoa, and pretty much any microscope will work. 

Gram staining and slide prep also helps when looking at bacteria.