Monosodium glutamate crystals

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is responsible for the umami or “savoury” taste of many of our foods. I was able to buy a tiny amount at a bulk food store for only a few pennies….can’t recall the last time I bought something so interesting for only a few pennies!

Raw Honey – polarizing light clip

Raw Honey often contains pollen and tiny bits of beeswax. I think the structure at about 4 o’clock maybe wax, but am not sure if I can say so confidently. As you watch the clip under polarized light, you can see the sugar (primarily glucose and fructose) crystals shimmering. Ambient room temperature is quite high…

Raw Honey (Unpasteurized)

Raw Honey plane polarized light.  You can see some of the crystalline structure of the sugars here.  

Methotrexate – short movie clip with polarizers

Here is a short clip of the Methotrexate crystals under polarizing filters.  Methotrexate was one of the first chemotherapeutic agents (and still used), and was discovered by Yellapragada Subbarao, who also had major contributions in elucidating the role of ATP and earliest antibiotics.

More Potash

Here is a short polarized film of potash which contains a number of potassium compounds. You can see the birefringent potassium nitrate crystals.


Here is Potash with polarized light and you can see the birefringent KNO3.

Garter snake scale

I found the shed skin of a gartersnake which had been exposed to the elements for at least 2 weeks.  The "scale" is from the body and at the right you can see a bit of the pattern of it.  With polarizer movie you can see a bit of the pattern better, but it looks...

Table sugar with polarizers

For this, I mixed regular table sugar with tap water and let it air dry.  Then observed this at the edge.

Hyaluronic Acid dried on slide

I put a drop of a Hyaluronic acid solution on the slide.  I didn’t see anything with brightfield/polarizing microscopy.  I looked at it again 2 days after it had dried, with one polarizing filter, then both and finally with polarizing filters and a “frugal” compensator (the coverslide in our Foldscope kits).

Down feather with a polarizing filter

I took these pictures with my foldscope and used polarizers to do so.  The one with a pinkish background had both polarizing filters and a compensator device between them.