Enlighten me

The great thinkers who created enormous advances in education, science, philosophy and engineering led the Enlightenment Period in 18th Century Scotland and across Europe. These people were not defined by their particular ‘fields’ of science (like biology, chemistry and physics). Rather, the advances in understanding and new inventions were created by people with a broad appreciation across these disciplines and the application of Scientific Practice – moving away from the old system of belief towards one of hypothesis and experimentation.

The Scottish Enlightenment was so important and far-reaching that we still feel its effect today – modern economics, mathematics, geology, physics and the arts are built on the knowledge from the Enlightenment Period.

Today there is a return to this ‘cross-disciplinary’ way of doing science and engineering.

Microscopy is a brilliant example of this: new types of microscope that can ‘see’ things smaller than ever before, were invented recently by physicists, who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, to help biologists understand the amazing small world inside cells.

We want to help you be part of a new EnLightenment.

Build it:

You can invent your own way of engineering your kits to make any smartphone or tablet camera into a powerful microscope.

See it:

Use your invention to see the “small world” – try looking at samples from biology (like leaves, or pond water), or chemistry (like crystals) – the limit is your imagination!

Learn about what you have seen – and tell as many people as you can in as many different ways.

Show it:

Send your amazing microscopy pictures to our website to be displayed in galleries and win great prizes! Think of new ways of demonstrating your fabulous findings – in art, for example, or even in music!

Remember: “Science not told is science not done” – telling others about the new things you have learned is one of the most important parts of science and our new EnLightenment, so get discovering!