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Microscopy training course a success

We held a new training course on the 2-3rd October, 'Understanding and Using the Light Microscope', which introduced participants to microscopy and taught them to use it effectively.

Unlike other scientific instruments, which will not work unless they are adjusted properly, the light microscope will give an image at the flick of a switch, however badly it is set up. For this reason, superficially the microscope appears simple, but scientific journals are replete with examples of poor quality images.

We therefore decided to run a new course at MRC Harwell to teach participants the basic principles of light microscopy, equip them with the skills required and enable them to use the light microscope to its full potential. The course was led by Jeremy Sanderson, our Bio-imaging Facility Manager, who has had twenty years of experience teaching the principles of light microscopy with the Royal Microscopical Society. He was therefore extremely well placed to provide tailored teaching and advice on the operation of both basic microscopes and advanced research instruments.

Course numbers were limited to a maximum of just four participants for the two days, which meant that participants were not fighting over microscopes and could receive more individual tuition. It also gave ample time for the participant’s individual questions and problems to be addressed.

At the end of the course, the participants were given a booklet and USB stick to take back with them, with additional information to refer back to at a later date. This was also tailored to some extent, with the information included adapted to suit each participant’s interests, ability and needs.

The feedback from the course was excellent, with participants agreeing that they found the course useful, that there was a good balance between introductory talks and practical sessions, and that they would definitely recommend the course to others. One participant praised the high level of expertise and knowledge of the tutor, combined with the ability to get it across, while another said, “It covered everything I needed. It was more deep than I expected.”

This course is repeated on the 27-28th October 2014. If you are interested in applying, please email

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