Monday, July 22, 2013

The History of the Microscope

During that historic period known as the Renaissance came the invention of the light microscope. A revolutionizing instrument that enabled the human eye to observe microscopic objects. It enabled people to understand the fascinating details of the known world.

In 1590, two Dutch spectacle makers discovered that nearby objects appeared greatly enlarged. That was the forerunner of the compound microscope and of the telescope. In 1609, Galileo, father of modern physics and astronomy, heard of these early experiments, worked out the principles of lenses, and made a much better instrument with a focusing device.

The father of microscopy, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, started as an apprentice in a dry goods store where magnifying glasses were used to count the threads in cloth. He taught himself new methods for grinding and polishing tiny lenses of great curvature which gave magnifications up to 270 diameters, the finest known at that time. He was the first to see and describe bacteria, yeast plants, the teeming life in a drop of water, and the circulation of blood corpuscles in capillaries. He studied both living and non living, and reported his findings in over a hundred letters to the Royal Society of England and the French Academy.

Anton van Leeuwenhoek Microscope

Robert Hooke is considered the English father of microscopy because he confirmed Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discoveries of the existence of tiny living organisms in a drop of water. Hooke made a copy of Leeuwenhoek's light microscope and then improved upon his design.

Robert Hooke Microscope 

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