Tag Archives: microscopic

Plant Science Night

Whenever I meet someone new, the conversation always ends up at “So what major are you studying?” As I boldly claim Optical Science, most people give me a smirk and say “So you work with eyes and prescription glasses?” Almost all of the people I have met have never heard of what an Optical Science major is. To spread the word outreach programs expose people to what Optical Science is all about.

Last Friday evening, Ventana Vista Elementary School hosted an annual Plant Science Night where scientific organizations from all over the city of Tucson come together to educate the next generation on the understanding of plants. But as an Optical Science major, what is our role at a Plant Science Night you ask? Because plants don’t have many characteristics on the surface, but under the microscope, millions of organisms are “swimming” microscopically. So as Optical Engineers, my group brought microscopes and lenses to discover movement behind what appears to be an inanimate object. Some of our demonstrations included, a homemade compound microscope made of K’nex and Lego’s, an apparatus where by just placing your phone on the surface, the camera on your phone can act as a microscope (you can even take a picture!), and a microscope that is projected to a 42 inch screen with a water sample taken from the turtle pond on the UofA campus. We brought 3 microscopes, so the other 2 that are not in use are for the students to look at different plant and cacti samples that Dr. Nofziger brought with him.

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In the Lab with Janelle Shane

JanelleShane

Sometimes our samples get visitors.

In most cases, they’re simply little flecks of dust that have settled to the surface of our chips.  Since most of the structures we’re making are so small, your average chunk of dust can be comparatively building-sized.

They usually scare the willies out of me when I’m zoomed into my structure, scanning the microscope across, and suddenly one of them looms into the field of view like a giant monster.   Continue reading