A comparison between light microscopes with electron microscopes

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Macha Cauchois

A comparison between light microscopes with electron microscopes

The word microscope comes from the Greek words micron, meaning small, and scopos, meaning aim.

To date, it is still unclear as to who actually invented the light microscope. It has often been said that Hans Janssen and his son Zacharias Janssen were the ones to have invented the light microscope in 1590, but this date is very unlikely considering Zacharias was born in 1590. It has also been said that Galileo Galilei was the inventor as he developed a light microscope with a convex and a concave lens in 1609. His microscope was celebrated in the 'Lynx Academy'. In the late 1600s, Christiaan Huygens developped a simple 2 lens ocular system which was corrected and therefore a step forward in the microscopic development. One man, however, is generally credited with bringing the microscope to the attention of biologists. Anton van Leeuwenhoek. His home made microscopes were very small simple instruments with a single very strong lens. Though awkward to use, they enabled seeing highly detailed images.

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Due to the limitations of light microscopes, electron microscopes were developed. In the 1930s, biologists found that light microscopes had theoretical limits, and the scientific desires to see fine details of the interior structures of organic cells were increasing. The first type of electron microscope to be developed was the transmission electron microscope and includes a focused beam of electrons to see through the specimen. This type of electron microscope was developed by Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska in 1931. Around 1942, the first scanning electron microscope was used, and its development came from the electronics involved in scanning ...

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Spelling and grammar are fine throughout. However, despite the fact that the candidate accurately describes both microscopes they use very few technical terms, I would expect an A-level candidate to include terms such as photomicrograph which is the image produced on screen from an electron microscope. In addition to this, the candidate consistently uses the term ‘light microscope’ and it is more accurate to say ‘optical microscope’ which is the scientific name.

The candidate could have developed this essay further by going on to discuss the ways in which specimens are prepared, perhaps even describing ultracentrifugation which is an A-level topic. This would have shown a greater depth of understanding and it is very useful to be able to link together topics in biology. Furthermore the candidate fails to conclude their work, you should always write a conclusion even for a short essay like this. It allows you to draw the essay to a close and leave the reader with a good impression. A good conclusion consists of a summary of your key points, you should include reasons for why these points are important, this helps the reader to see that your essay is important and is worth reading.

The candidate starts with a good opening sentence, they define the terms linked with the word microscope, which is good way to engage the reader. However their introduction is just one sentence. A good introduction should include what you plan to discuss, so that you introduce your essay. However the candidates overall response to this topic is good, they describe how both types of microscopes work and have compared the basic proprieties of each, such as resolution and magnification.