Introduction to Microscopes

Understand why and how the light microscope and electron microscope are used in biology

A cell is the smallest unit of a living thing. A living thing, whether made of one cell (like bacteria) or many cells (like a human), is called an organism. Thus, cells are the basic building blocks of all organisms.

Several cells of one kind that interconnect with each other and perform a shared function form tissues, several tissues combine to form an organ (your stomach, heart, or brain), and several organs make up an organ system (such as the digestive system, circulatory system, or nervous system). Several systems that function together form an organism (like a human being). Here, we will examine the structure and function of cells.

There are many types of cells, all grouped into one of two broad categories: prokaryotic and eukaryotic. For example, both animal and plant cells are classified as eukaryotic cells, whereas bacterial cells are classified as prokaryotic. Regardless of the type of cell, be it a component in a multicelled eukaryotic animal’s nervous system or a single-celled prokaryotic lifeform, biologists will use microscopes to study them.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify the general applications of light microscopes in biology
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of electron microscopes for biological studies

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Microscopy
  • Self Check: Microscopes