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Microscopy Courses

Learn about microscopy and more with online courses on edX!
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learn microscopy

What is Microscopy?

Microscopy is the art of using microscopes to find, examine, and discover things that can't be seen with the naked eye. Our first use of microscopes involved lenses for physical magnification, but now we have access to complex microscopes that allow us to see well beyond physical lenses. These different types of microscopes fall into three common categories- optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and scanning probe, but a fourth, x-ray, is also in the mix. Optical microscopes, also called light microscopes, involve light passing through lenses and the specimen, providing magnification. They include simple microscopes and compound microscopes. You likely learned about those fundamentals (i.e., a field of view, light sources, eyepieces, and sample preparation) in high school. Electron microscopes use the same principle, but shine electron beams through the specimen, allowing for sharper images of even smaller things. They fall into two categories, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. They go beyond visible light to produce 3D images in some cases. Scanning probe microscopy uses a probe to scan the surface of a specimen for great detail. Image analysis and microscopy techniques have moved beyond even these three to produce high-quality images of things we never thought we'd see.

Learn about Microscopy

Science would be lost without microscopy. Understanding these techniques provides microscopists the chance to explore worlds tinier than we ever thought possible. Combined with imaging techniques and now machine and computer vision, we're on the cusp of imaging further and deeper into our world.

Microscopy Courses and Certifications

EdX offers several courses designed to teach you how to produce images perfect for life science discovery. In partnership with EPFL, you can learn about Synchrotrons and X-Ray free Electron Lasers, and with Kyoto University you can study the life of microbes. EPFL also offers a course on imaging for life science researchers, designed to give you the basics of state of the art imaging in the microscopic world.

Dive Deeper into Microscopy

Understanding advancements in microscopy gives you an advantage in today's research. Clearer and smaller image captures provide insight into the fundamental building blocks of our world. These high-resolution machines give us the chance to uncover worlds previously hidden to us, and you could be at the forefront of that research. With computers providing super-resolution, you may even discover worlds you never thought possible. Generations ago, seeing living cells was a massive step forward, but now that we're after the smallest building blocks of our universe, we may be moving further. A digital image of a quark? Hopefully soon. Microscopy image with resolving power low enough to find dark matter? We'd love that. Guide us with your knowledge and help put all the pieces together.