STROBE is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center focused on developing the microscopes of tomorrow—new imaging techniques that help scientists and engineers understand the structure, properties, and interactions inside biological and engineered materials in real time. Why is the need to create better microscopes so critical? Although we already have many different kinds of microscopes, the microscopes we have today are limited in what they let us see—and that limits what we can know about the world around us.

Two students are using a microscope and a tablet during a STROBE science activity


The STROBE Microscopes of Tomorrow app, developed by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, features five imaging science stories, brought to life through photos, videos, illustrations, and interactive tools. Explore the imaging science innovations that scientists are creating to let them uncover secrets in human and plant cells, peek inside batteries and nanoparticles, and figure out how energy moves through solar panels. Scientists from the UC Berkeley branch of the STROBE Center for Real-time Functional Imaging invite you into their labs to see these microscopes of tomorrow in action, try out simulations that show how they work, and learn about how these new ways of “seeing” can lead to solutions to important problems in science, medicine, and engineering.

About The STROBE Center

The STROBE center brings together scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Berkeley; Fort Lewis College; Florida International University; and the University of California, Irvine. These scientists are collaborating to accomplish what they couldn’t do if they worked alone. They’re integrating different kinds of imaging methods and figuring out faster and better ways to detect and analyze their data. By revealing the inner structure and processes inside materials at scales smaller—and faster—than ever before, these new imaging methods will allow us to ask and investigate new questions and accelerate innovation in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.

Using the App with Students

The STROBE Microscopes of Tomorrow app offers an opportunity for students to connect the science concepts and practices they learn about in school to cutting-edge applications outside of school. The diverse group of scientists featured in the app share their research, as well as aspects of their own stories, providing windows into rich and exciting science and engineering careers. Because the imaging science stories cross disciplines—from the electromagnetic spectrum to matter and energy to processes in human and plant cells—the Microscopes of Tomorrow app offers authentic opportunities to complement and enhance classroom activities and discussions as students build their understanding of these concepts. Linking all these concepts is the crosscutting concept of scale: an overarching goal of the work of STROBE scientists is to break through the limits of spatial and temporal scale to build microscopes capable of “seeing” processes and phenomena smaller and faster than ever before. To highlight the importance of this concept, the app features two interactive tools focused on scale, allowing students to explore and compare either the relative sizes of different objects, or the relative time scales at which different processes occur.

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