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January 10, 2016

Have Microscope, Will Travel…

On 16 December 2015 St Paul’s School was invited to present at the Society of Electron Microscope Technology’s annual meeting, held at the Natural History Museum.

The presentation outlined the School’s experiences sharing the recently purchased Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) through outreach and enrichment programmes, and was entitled ‘Have Microscope, Will Travel: Outreach with an SEM is Enrichment for Students’.

An SEM is an accessible research tool, both for scientists and the public. It provides images with extraordinary depth of field, as well as technical information on morphology and composition. This microscope is now a crucial part of the School’s aim to conduct scientific research in schools; and of course, science communication is a crucial part of research. The Hitachi microscope is so designed as to be robust to novice users with minimal supervision. We demonstrated this on two outreach trips with the SEM in 2015, Lyme Regis Fossil Festival and the Natural History Museum’s Science Uncovered.

The meeting provided a wonderful opportunity to build contacts for current, and future, student led projects. Following the talk we were humbled to receive the free use of a second microscope, to take when the School carries out SEM outreach trips, allowing us to reach an even wider audience.

Dr Tom Weller said “The meeting responded very positively, a lot of discussion was stimulated, and I hope I inspired more of the audience to get into outreach. We are already in talks with a number of organisations who are interested in collaborating. We are looking forward to a busy and rewarding 2016”.

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