This isn't about the microscope, it's about the efforts to replicate someone else's project.
I've written some popular how-to's and the first 80% of that article (the second link, not the first one everyone has so breezily dismissed) is pretty much my constant fear when I write them. Normal DIY projects are done by people who are experienced with DIY, they know how to follow instructions and troubleshoot projects, and improvise. But when your DIY project goes viral most of the people trying to build it are poorly prepared. And, as an author, you can't put a Making 101 class in the instructions or they'll be so long no one will read them. You make the project as robust as possible, you try to head off the most obvious mistakes, hope for the best. But still your email box fills with people who are deeply frustrated because they've tried it and feel like you've led them astray and they've wasted a lot of time and money and maybe you owe it to them to fix it.
It's a pretty thankless job. A DIY author virtually never hears about the successful builds, only the failures.
I was kind of surprised that a scientist would be so poor at following instructions and intuiting the location of the lens, but it sounds like she's going to try again, which is great. To me, the absolute worst outcome of a DIY project is that they'll be so frustrated that they'll never try to make anything again.