10 Uses For An Old Microscope
Following on from our previous article, here are some suggestions for an old microscope (should you happen not to destroy it!).
1. Museum piece
Start your own mini scientific instruments museum. Before you know it, you be raking through the old skips and dumpsters at your institute looking for exhibits.
2. Teach kids
Teach your kids about the wonderful and tiny world of a carefully peeled apart leaf, a feather or those slides of a snake scale which seem to come with every first microscope kit.
Depending how heavy the scope is, you could use it as a doorstop- albeit a huge trip hazard.
A cool bookend with which to prop up your thesis (see our article on 10 uses for a PhD thesis).
If it is of the old and very beautiful brass variety, you could proudly display this in your living room and be the envy of your non-scientific friends as you demonstrate your knowledge of the parts of the scope and what they do. Of course, this will depend if the person you live with also sees the beauty in such a wonderful piece of craftsmanship, or if it is classified as ‘junk’ (oh no, I’m not bitter!).
6. Sell sell sell
As with number 5 above, this will depend on the age of the scope, but you could sell it to supplement your meagre income which us scientists laughingly call a salary. Have a look at sites such as eBay and some of the private collector sites for prices to dream about!
7. Donate it
Donate the scope to a local school. This will depend on whether they can accept such an offer as some rules and regulations govern such gifts due to health and safety regulations. If they do accept it, better still, deliver the instrument yourself and offer to demonstrate it to the kids during their science class.
8. Recycle it
Following on from 7, there are some schemes in place which will gladly accept donations of older instruments. Some companies also offer recycling whereby they will take your old instrument and donate it through their existing schemes.
9. Leave it alone
Leave it in the lab. I have seen some labs with scopes sitting unloved and gathering dust without any of the current lab members even knowing how it switches on, let alone use the damn thing!
10. Office display
Do what we have done at Bitesize HQ and use a selection from the collection of a certain microscopy channel editor to make a rather cool office display. Well, we think it’s cool and it makes us look like we know about science n stuff!
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If you’re ever interested in donating your old microscope to a great Science Education program – please contact someone at Science from Scientists! We run hands-on science lessons in 29 middle schools across Massachusetts and California. (And we need more microscopes to show kids how cool cells are!)