Book Review – Adventures with a Microscope

Adventures with a Microscope
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This is a 1941 text which takes on the challenge of writing about microscopy by trying something different. Headstrom attempts to make it an adventure, hence the title, by walking you through the process of advancing your knowledge step by step. While the drawings are simple, they do convey enough information to understand what is needed. Interestingly, this book seems to have been borrowed from Gaylord Johnson and Maurice Bleifield in Hunting with the Microscope.

Here’s one example- in Headstrom’s original text about rotifers, we see, “One of these, which goes by the somewhat girlish name of Melicerta (Figure 36) is a brickmaker, mason, and architect combined, building herself a chimney-like house out of little mud balls, which she fashions one by one and adds to the circular wall.”

Yet in the 1974 Hunting With the Microscope we find in the section on rotifers, “One of the most remarkable of these is shown in Figure 23 over the amazingly girlish name of Melicerta. Melicerta is at once a brickmaker, mason, and architect, building herself a chimney-like house out of little mudballs that she molds one by one before adding them to the circular wall.”

There are other examples as well, such as the description of the bee’s hind leg “baskets” carrying home the “bread” to baby bees, to name just one more.

Headstrom’s book is very well written and does indeed take you through the adventure of microscopy in great detail covering a very broad range of subjects in 59 chapters with 142 illustrations. Published by Dover it is reasonable in price and a must have for the serious amateur as a guide for identification.

Buy it on Amazon here

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