Sunday, July 18, 2010

Free micrography!

Mammal hairs encased in 100 million-year-old amber (click image for more information).

I should have sent in a bug. Or a feather. Or a cinnamon stick. Instead, I sent in tiny insects trapped in 2 specimens of amber, hoping for images like the one above - albeit in black and white. The images I received (below) showed more of the surface cracks than the fossilized bugs. But with this in mind, perhaps you will make a better choice if you decide to take advantage of what I still think is a fun - and free - offer.

This spring, Aspex kicked off a "Send Us Your Sample" campaign, which allows anyone to mail in an object of his or her choosing and have it scanned for free under one of their desktop scanning electron microscopes (SEMs). I was contacted directly by a representative who wrote, "Since your blog primarily deals with fossils and photography, this would be a great opportunity for you and your readers to send in some of their own samples. You will be surprised at what people will send in. It's pretty cool. Once we receive the samples, we'll notify senders of their results via email."

To submit, follow these steps:

1. Download and print this form from the ASPEX website.
2. Fill it out and mail it along with the sample to:
ASPEX Corporation
Free Sample Submissions
175 Sheffield Dr.
Delmont, PA 15626
3. Await the results! (Note that the response generated by publicity in Wired, Gizmodo, and Boing Boing means that their turnaround time is more like 2 months than the stated 2 weeks, but they will return the sample if requested.)

1 comment:

  1. This is so cool! It is kind of difficult to see the bugs, but the amber itself is really neat! ^-^


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