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Microscopes for Earth & Space Science Research

Earth and Space Sciences








Optical microscopy is an integral tool for many in the Earth and space sciences, as it enables detailed investigation of thin slices of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, meteorites, and other materials. Specialized polarized light microscopes are used, for example, to study the mineral composition and microscopic textures of rock samples, which geoscientists use to make interpretations of the formation and evolution of rocks. However, only one decent microscope with a camera is currently available for Earth and Space Science students, and this microscope is outdated with mediocre optics and deteriorating hardware. We propose the purchase of two new microscope systems that will improve access to quality optical micro-analysis equipment for students in Earth and Space Sciences and related departments. One microscope will provide a wide field-of-view that is particularly useful for analyzing patterns of micro-textures within a whole sample, while the other will be a standard petrographic microscope for the routine analysis of samples by polarized light microscopy. A desiccator cabinet will allow safe storage of special samples to be analyzed. Camera attachments on the microscopes will enable photography of samples for both student research and instructors and TAs to take photos of teaching samples for classes. Both setups will help to satisfy a need for quality optical microscopes that will only grow in the near future as three new Earth and Space Science faculty in disciplines that rely on such tools arrive during 2023 and engage more students in research investigating Earth materials with optical microscopy.


Users will be able to schedule appointments on a google calendar that will be shared with users once they have received the training for the microscopes.

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Learn about the Student Technology Fee and the proposal process by attending a Workshop led by our staff and receive 1:1 support with your proposal.


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Phone: 206-543-2975
Office: Husky Union Building 305B

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