Applied Optical Microscopy Calendar 2001

April 9-13. Plant Anatomy and Morphology -  (Harry A. Alden)         $500.00

This course provides an introduction to and appreciation of plant anatomy and morphology for those dealing with ethnographic objects made from or containing plant materials.  Emphasis is on herbaceous characters of leaves, stems, roots and bark.  Wood anatomy & identification is covered in a separate course.  The information provided will form the basis for construction of reference material sets, recognition of anatomical characters and comparative analysis of unknown samples.  Areas covered include anatomical characters, sampling, microtechniques, and data accumulation from both reference and unknown materials. The course packet includes a CD-ROM of the class text (600+ pp.) in MS-WORD, a 10X hand lens and other handouts. Students are welcome to bring an object for analysis, and are encouraged to bring a laptop with CD-ROM drive to view class text. Do not send payment with your registration.

May 14-18. Microscopy of Protective and Decorative Coatings (Mel Wachowiak [wachowiakm@si.edu], $500.00

This course is the newest offering in our ongoing microscopy series, and will focus on the practical techniques for characterization of paint and varnish systems.  While the equipment and techniques will be discussed extensively, a large portion of the course will be spent in practical laboratory exercises.  Topics will include:

  • Sample preparation: this is the most critical factor influencing the quality of microscopy, therefore, materials and methods of preparation for reproducible, high-quality, cost- and time-efficient mounts will be covered.  Attendees will receive molds, resins and other supplies.
  • The stereomicroscope: this under-utilized tool will be profiled as a critical part of microanalysis and documentation schemes; common and novel uses of this tool will be covered.
  • Light microscopy techniques: brightfield, darkfield, fluorescence, transmitted light, and combined methods will be discussed and used. 
  • Documentation: photographic techniques (including film formats and selection criteria) video, and digital techniques will be covered.
  • Design of studio space for microscopy, ergonomics, specifying and purchasing microscopes, and other topics will be addressed as time permits

The course is intended for the conservator, museum scientist, or other professional with some experience in this area.  Attendees will be encouraged to participate fully in dialog during lecture, and discuss their experiences in microscopy.  Attendees are encouraged to bring samples from their practice, and consider bringing their own microscopes to the course.  Advice on maximizing, or modifying, your microscope can be given during the course.  There will be ample time for open lab to prepare and examine your samples.

Equipment available: a range of stereomicroscopes and laboratory-grade microscopes will be available, including those equipped for brightfield, darkfield, and fluorescence. Do not send payment with your registration.

July 16-20.   Polarized Light Microscopy - Fundamentals and Applications - (Martha Goodway [goodwaym@si.edu] and Jan Hinsch [Leica Microsystems, Inc].  $500.00

This course furnishes a thorough, in-depth look at the fundamentals of polarized light microscopy and its applications.  It includes principles (wave nature of light, isotropy, anisotropy and optical activity), mechanics and use of polarizing microscopes, sample preparation, orthoscopy and special methods.  This course will provide the practical application of polarized light microscopy towards the identification of natural fibers and artist’s pigments.  Do not send payment with your registration.

August 20 – 24. Wood Anatomy and Identification - (Harry A. Alden)            $500.00

This course provides an in depth study of wood anatomy of temperate taxa and an introduction to the anatomy of tropical species, as relates to their macroscopic and microscopic identification.  Emphasis is placed on temperate species and real-life applications of analysis of samples from wooden artifacts from museum and archaeological contexts (including charcoal). Areas covered include sampling, microtechniques, character identification and identification of unknowns using reference sets, dichotomous keys and computer applications.  Students are welcome to bring an object for analysis, and are encouraged to bring a laptop with CD-ROM drive to view class text. The course packet includes a CD-ROM of the class text and other electronic references in MS-WORD, a 10X hand lens and other handouts. Do not send payment with your registration.

September 17-21. Microscopy of Protective and Decorative Coatings (Mel Wachowiak [wachowiakm@si.edu] $500.00 (see listing above)

To Be Announced.      Interpretation of Archaeological and Historic Metals (Martha Goodway [goodwaym@si.edu])           $500.00

Many metals and alloys encountered in archaeology and conservation are no longer industrial materials, and the interpretation of their microstructures is not treated in current texts and atlases. This course will focus on the principles that enable the microscopist to interpret these microstructures, and apply them to bronze, wrought iron, steel, brass and other traditional alloys. Students are encouraged to bring their own prepared samples for discussion. Text and notes will be provided. Do not send payment with your registration.

For general information on courses, registration, logistics, etc., please contact Francine T. Lewis at 301-238-1240 or lewisf@si.edu.

For specific information about an individual course, contact the instructor at the addresses provided in the course listing.