Book Review – The Microscope and How to Use It

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An excellent book by George Stehli covering all of the basics including equipment selection, makeshift accessories, specimen preparation and staining. This is the book to have for all of the hints and tips you would take 20 years to discover on your own. Stehli gleans from all of the textbooks, protocols and his lifetime of experience to give the hobbyist and student a crash course on everything you need to know. There is even an excellent chart in the back that covers stain protocols for the wide variety specimens. Since this is an older book you have the advantage of getting the names of recommended chemicals that you would not find in a more recent book because of hazardous considerations and liability issues. While carcinogenic benzine is not something you would want to obtain, even if you could, you will want to have Xylene on hand for sectioning and paraffin clearing. CAUTION: Careful handling here too! All of the mentioned chemicals must be used with extreme caution, of course, and you can substitute some for safer chemicals found today. Although published in 1955, and my edition on plain paper stock- not glossy, the black and white photographs are excellent. In the section about blood smears, you have better photos than you would find in much more expensive books. The darkfield photos of diatoms are as good as I’ve recently seen taken. The illustrations are superb and detailed.

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