School of Anatomy and Human Biology - The University of Western Australia

     Blue Histology - The Vurtial Microscope

This page contains brief descriptions and simulations of the major functions of a good teaching-quality light microscope. In one sense this page behaves very much like a microscope - if you don't know what you are doing or if you are impatient, you are unlikely to get anything out of it. Read technical instructions where they are available.
Descriptions and simulations are grouped under the following topics:

Mag & Stage

The 25 Magnification & Stage simulations allow you to use the three magnifications found on most teaching microscopes and to move the section while you are doing so.

Focus & Stage

The eight Focus & Stage simulations on this page allow you to focus through the depth of sections at high magnification and to move the sections.

Iris & Light

Two Iris Diaphragm & Light simulations explain a little about the function of the iris diaphragm - when it may be a good idea to use, when not and how you may have to adjust light levels to take full advantage of the function of the iris diaphragm.


A brief introduction to Stereology .... or how to count to ten, but usually less.
This section contains a brief introduction to theory with a minnimum of formulas and funny mathematical signs. Two simulations allow you to practice volume estimation (Cavalieri estimator) and cell counting (disector).

Note that the field of view available in the simulations is very small as compared to a real microscope. Also, some tissues are not well-suited for this type of presentation. Computers are not yet performing well enough, for ordinary mortals with ordinary computers, to write a virtual microscope for all biological tissues.

As soon as they do I may try, and I may change the spelling of the title of this page.

page content and construction: Lutz Slomianka
last updated: 5/08/09