I almost forgot! It is of course a new year and time to renew ones membership in any of the microscopical societies one fancies. I strongly recommend membership in the Royal Microscopical Society. The RMS has a long, and storied history as well as a vibrant and inspirational present. It is an excellent resource for both professionals and amateur enthusiasts. The RMS is welcoming and an incredible resource, whatever ones background and occupation.
Before thinking that a professional society oriented around the microscope and all of its applications and technologies would be a waste of money for a casual enthusiast, one would do well to consider the benefits. There are a number, and they’re all outlined on the RMS website in a better format than I can give here. But I will make my little pitch nonetheless. While looking around their site why not check out some of the past articles in old editions of infocus, the societies popular magazine? I’d say that it alone justifies the price of membership and I look forward to every issue. In the most recent issue there’s a timely article on the basics of capturing photomicrographs of snowflakes, and a really exciting and inspirational look at the latest work of Professor Milton Wainwright who has identified biological entities in samples taken 27 kilometers up in the stratosphere, not the sort of place one expects to find a fragment of diatom!
One other exceptional benefit of membership that I really have to mention is the discount provided to members for purchases at wiley. I recently made use of the discount to pick up the new edition of Current Protocols Select: Imagaing and Microscopy at an excellent price. The 2013 edition has been expanded and updated to the point that I was no longer content to run to the library when I needed to consult it and the RMS discount enabled me to get a copy of my own for a price that didn’t have my long suffering wife locking up my wallet.
Alright, enough of being a shill, but if you’re at all interested in really putting your microscope to use or even just seeing what others are able to do with theirs, consider membership in the RMS or one of the other outstanding microscopical societies.
I looked into joining the Quekett Club but all of their meetings are in London and/or too far away. I hadn’t considered the RMS. I shall look into it.
I am actually a current member of the Quekett as well, their journal is lovely but I think I will allow my membership to lapse this year. Their other member benefits are simply too location oriented and the club itself grows rather more inward. Progress was made in a positive direction in the second quarter of last year towards catering to a more diverse selection of microscopists through their new website, but growth and their internet host being blindingly slow takes a toll.
It’s a shame the Quekett doesn’t have more regional meetings. I was shocked that Bristol doesn’t have one. I know there are some very knowledgeable people who are members but it’s too difficult for me to get to London or deepest darkest Dorset. I would very much like to go but I don’t drive and most of the regional meetings would involve my travelling by train, and staying overnight in a hotel. Costly, especially when you have children.
I think the Quekett should have an open message board instead of the members only one, like the Yahoo site. That way they’d attract more amateurs (and professionals) who are googling for information and advice. Then discussions start, connections are made and maybe the club would grow.I’d be much more inclined to travel to a meeting if I had talked to members online because you feel like you half know people already if you have communicated online.
I’m pretty sure you can get free bulletin boards, I used to moderate one a few years ago. My husband could probably host one on his server, although I can’t be certain without asking him. Bulletin boards are much easier to negotiate than yahoo threads too. That set up is ancient now. Almost as ancient as your average Quekett club member :-P
You’ve pointed out pretty much the main issues with Quekett. There is just too big of a separation between what the club thinks it is and what it actually does. There are a lot of great people involved with it but it always seems like a plaything for a few more than anything else. That’s why I love the RMS, it is what it says it is, and does everything it can for microscopy, its members and those with even a potential interest in it, drop an email to Debbie Hunt (email@example.com) if you’re considering joining.
I shouldn’t be to hard on Quekett though, at its worst it’s better than a number of the options here in the states.