Talk:Optical microscope

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I have read through the talk at microscope to try and get something done about the future of this article. It seems that people agree on what should be done, it just needs doing!

Here is an outline of what I believe a sensible solution is for the microscopy, microscope and all other related pages:

  • Microscope and microscopy should become portal style pages, with summary articles and links to pages on the individual types of microscopy (optical, electron, etc.) and pages on the physical principles of basic microscopes (ie. optics, resolution, electron optics, etc.)
  • Microscope should be written from a physical viewpoint, ie. the physics and history of microscopes, as microscopes are the actual instrument. Microscopy should be written from a more practical viewpoint, ie. the usage and reasons for usage of the different techniques.
  • Optical microscope needs its own page, similar to electron microscope. Relevant information on individual optical microscopy instruments and techniques need to be moved to this page.
  • Each individual microscopy technique and microscope type (eg. phase contrast, scanning electron, etc.) needs its own page, no matter how short - it is better to have a stub for expansion than a long and confusing parent article.

Finally and most importantly:

  • microscope and microscopy should be kept short and simple. They are introductory pages to what is a very wide and in depth region of science. Detail should be confined to more focussed articles.

You have a week to make your comments, and, unless there are any major complaints, im going to get started! Zephyris 20:45, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

This article, started originally by a couple of anonymous wags, has been developing parallel with Microscope. Although its intent is probably to be specific to "optical" microscopes, in fact that is the type that most people associate with microscope. Time to end the confusion and merge with the original article. - Marshman 00:37, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There has become a need for this article, in a similar style to electron microscope, although as this old comment very truthfully says, it should not become a parallel of microscope

Error in Picture[edit]

The picture under the title "How a microscope works" is wrong. The real image in the picture (between F2 and the Eyepiece) somehow bends the light rays. Seeyes 16:12, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

F2 ? I guess the image has been changed - the text still refers to an eye, but the image has a camera ! -- (talk) 02:59, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Isn't the stage #6?. #6 is the place you put glass slides to view them. If you tried "to hold the sample" at #9 you wouldn't be able to see it. #9 is the part that moves the slide clip (silver thing on stage) by using the handle under the number 9 in the picture. I think the frame refers to the whole main structure where the oculars, nosepiece, stage and light source are attached rather than just the slide clip mover but I'm not totally sure about that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vypo9 (talkcontribs) 21:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Sudggestion to change article name[edit]

The name of this article should be perhaps changed to transmitted light microscopy rather than optical microscopy Coolbrdr 19:43, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

It includes stereo microscopes, which do not use transmitted light. I see the problem, though, that the article talks about light microscopes as if they are all transmitted light microscopes. I think the article needs written to correct for this problem rather than moved. There should be an article on optical light microscopes. Unlike in EM it is still common to have microscopes with both transmitted and reflected light paths. --Amaltheus (talk) 03:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, a transmission electron microscope is also an optical microscope: it follows the same optical rules and also uses lenses. Only the beams uses electrons instead of photons. It is essential to make a clear distinction between an 'optical microscope', which doesn't imply a type of illumination source, and a 'light microscope', which uses photons as a source of illumination: This article should be renamed into "Light Microscope" 6 July 2014 21:30 UTC

How to[edit]

I removed the How to section that someone put a notice on. The section was badly written and unreferenced and seemed pointless. IMO it was better to just get rid of it. --Amaltheus (talk) 03:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Stereo Microscope , Main article: Comparison Microscope[edit]

Doesn't this imply they are the same thing ?

2 Eyepieces <> 2 objects

"The stereo microscope should not be confused with a compound microscope equipped with binocular eyepieces." Also there are old brass microscopes with one objective and two tubes that diverge to two eyepieces. Doesn't that give a limited stereo effect due to using two small circles as apertures within the objective ? I don't know what's inside them ...

-- (talk) 02:49, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

When there is only one objective, there is only one image generated. If a binocular eyepiece is used, then this image is duplicated: Both eyes see exactly the same image, thus there is no 3D effect. --Dietzel65 (talk) 21:24, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Historical images[edit]

Maybe someone wants to incorporate these "new" historical images in the article. Legends are on Commons. --Dietzel65 (talk) 21:31, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

McArthur microscope[edit]

I know nothing about the subject (I'm interested in the man!), but I've been finding out about John Norris McArthur's invention, a portable microscope "a revolutionary instrument incorporating the most radical innovation since microscopic design since Galileo" his obituary. The McArthur design bends the light through two right angles, resulting in inversion of the microscope slide. This makes the overall design much more compact. The inverted slide is extremely useful in examination of liquids -- for example, in bedside tests for cholera. In 1982, with the agreement of the inventor, Neil Andersson produced thousands of the microscopes in plastic for a refugee health programme in the Horn of Africa, making it the first plastic microscope (except the lenses)capable of diagnosing TB, leprosy and malaria[1] . More info here: [1] and here [2] and here [3]. Thanks. Jasper33 (talk) 13:18, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Deletion of examples of microscopes exceeding Abbe limit[edit]

Two examples were deleted. The Ergonom is a real product being sold today in Germany, so objections that this was sourced from are unfounded. Deletion of the Nemescope on the grounds of fraud is not proven, and a web search did not support this claim, but the claim that it is "not notable" is accepted, since this microscope was never produced and patent was dated 1964. Haiqu (talk) 11:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

John Nevard is claiming that this product doesn't actually exist. I'd like to refer him to which shows that this microscope was demonstarted at the Royal Microscopical Society's 2006 conference. Haiqu (talk) 09:29, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

That the conference website shows the Grayfield press release only provides independent documentation that the company apparently exists and were to exhibit something at the conference. Everything else on that page is just PR from the company. The webhits from Rife websites, including those apparently connected to the company, don't count as independent sources. Nevard (talk) 22:53, 2 March 2009 (UTC)


I have deleted several images which are marginal to the content and also cluttered the article. I have updated the text on digital microscopes. Peterlewis (talk) 09:34, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

What about the toolmakers microscope? (talk) 17:26, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

medieval predecessors[edit]

In another wonderful example of pro islamic bias,some tendentious editor tells us the first magnifying glasses were invented by Ibn al-Haytham.This is,obviously,false. Magnifying glasses were known since ancient times.Evidence [4],[5],[6], Of course Ibn al-Haytham worked with magnifying eyeglasses.But he did nothing revolutionary or new about it.Much more important was the develpment of spectacles in Italy.--Knight1993 (talk) 20:14, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Overall Critique[edit]

I feel that this article though very informative and seems to have some good sources is lacking overall in its efficiency. There are many informative parts but the problem with this article is it lacks the proper amount of scholarly articles to back up its writing. The sources are very little and their seem to be some improper reporting in the site. The illustrations as I have seen in other comments really lack the backing they have from writing and need to be updated better. The subject of this article is good in that it is thorough in its information it just needs a few more very good sources to be hailed as a viable article. It seems as though the bad contributions to this page have been taken care of pretty well as the people giving the information are passionate about their topic. Overall this article does show some very promising signs but does need a little bit more information to really standout. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hist406-10dfoit (talkcontribs) 21:48, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

New optical microscope[edit]

this story, about optical microspheres and extending the limits of optical microscopy, should probably be used as a source for a new subsection.(mercurywoodrose) (talk) 16:28, 4 March 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ Andersson, Neil (1985). "Enter the barefoot microscopist". Journal of Audiovisual Media in Medicine. 8 (3): 111–2. 

Use in industry[edit]

The article tends to focus on use in biology. Microscopes are also used for quality assurance in industry, particularly in the semiconductor industry, where the subject (a silicon wafer) is opaque, the stage and focus system is automated, and the image is digitized and analyzed by computer. Editors should consider this when expanding the article. -- SpareSimian (talk) 18:47, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Diagram of a simple microscope[edit]

The figure 'looks' like a ray diagram, but it isn't as the lens isn't bending the ray? User:2014‎, 13:32, 12 November

Good catch, should look like that---> [7]. I'll see if I can do some fix up soon. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 14:24, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 20:36, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Removed incorrect diagram of how a magnifying glass works[edit]

The file "Microscope simple diagram.png" is incorrect and misleading. I have removed it from the page. Please refer to figure 5.91 of Optics by Eugene Hecht 4th ed. for an example of the correct diagram. Tarheels 100 (talk) 19:26, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done (see talk above) Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 20:37, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

What was wrong in my proposal?[edit]

My proposal to mention about the possibility of building very cheap, yet powerful microscopes was deleted. Why? Now I am afraid even to name the university where the invention took place. But the mere fact that 2,000X magnification can be obtained for less than a dollar is interesting enough to be reflected in Wikipedia. This flat folding microscope is made out of paper! This is a very simple yet revolutionary idea. A poppy seed-sized spherical lens, held very close to the eye, results in enormous magnification. Now every kid can have a powerful flat microscope in his/her pocket. It can also serve to diagnose illness in developing countries, as a portable tool for every doctor. The list of uses is limited only by our imagination. As to "advertising" or "promotion" - if I give a link, you will delete my post, right? But look at IPhone and the like. There are precise links and... millions of dollars at stake, unless Apple Inc. is a charitable institution... (talk) 00:06, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Your links were removed by me because Wikipedia is not a "how-to" or a vehicle for promotion of any kind (see WP:NOTHOWTO, WP:NOTPROMOTION), nor is it a directory leading on to that type of stuff. The purpose of this article is to describe Optical microscopes based on what can be referenced to text books and other reliable sources. Addition of links or information to Wikipedia (multiple times) with the purpose of promoting an outside organization, individual or idea, and is considered harmful to the encyclopedia and the definition of WP:SPAM. It does not seem wrong to promote such a device but it is wrong here because this is a boring encyclopedia that just describes things ;). You can always post over at Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous) for further discussion or input from other editors as to what you want to do, they may have some advice. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 01:28, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Fountains of Bryn Mawr wrote:
> "Addition of links or information to Wikipedia (multiple times)"

  • "multiple times"? Would it have changed anything if I had done it only once?

> "with the purpose of promoting an outside organization"

  • Explicit "promoting an outside organization" etc. is in almost every article here, for example in articles about Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Samsung and their products which are present-day commodities, waiting for buyers.

> "is considered harmful to the encyclopedia and the definition of WP:SPAM."

  • How can spam be harmful to its own definition?. How can anything be harmful to any definition? ;-)

> "but it is wrong here because this is a boring encyclopedia that just describes things"

  • But Wikipedia by definition does describe things - of course only the ones deserving it. But information about the revolutionary microscope certainly deserves to be in the current article. I even consider a separate article, but it would be an even better promotion. Optical giants like Olympus and Nikon may not be delighted. ;) Am I allowed to do it?

PS. Could you show the difference between WP:NOTHOWTO and WP:NOTPROMOTION?  ;-) (talk) 22:00, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

You should read up on Wikipedia, maybe Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not. In a nut shell, you would have to base this entry, or an article on the device, on what other people (who have the authority to say such a thing) are saying about it. Supply those sources and you are golden. Your other questions are answered in the links I provided. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 22:45, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Optical microscope/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

While going through this article, I was curious to read the historical developments. The article on wikipedia on Robert Hooke ( mentions , "He is also remembered for his work as "the father of microscopy" — it was Hooke who coined the term "cell" to describe the basic unit of life". I am surprised to see this name completely ommited in this article. This creates confusion. What was Robert Hooke's role in microscopy? -- (talk) 15:20, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 15:20, 6 August 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 01:55, 30 April 2016 (UTC)