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.