The researchers did this after realizing that modern smartphone camera lenses, which cost around $ 4 each, are so good they can distinguish even single cells.
The scientists prepared instructions for building the microscope, and they also completed a step-by-step tutorial to walk people through the construction process and provide information on the relevant optical properties of a microscope.
They then tested their invention on a group of children aged 9 to 13 and examined what they understood using a questionnaire. It turned out – unsurprisingly – that the children who received the parts and blueprints to build the microscope themselves saw their knowledge of microscopes increase dramatically.
For this part of the study, the scientists, who are normally engaged in research on fundamental biophysical processes, were able to benefit from the contribution and enthusiasm of their 10-year-old co-author, Emil Betz Blesa, the son from project manager Timo. Betz from the University of Göttingen.
A video in which the microscope is set up and the result is displayed, an image of single cells. (Video: Timo Betz)
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