Sunday, December 15, 2013

The invention of microscope

In the second quarter of 11th century Abu Ali al-Hassan ibn Al-Hassan ibn al-Haytham or al-Hazen, a Persian mathematician and astronomer wrote his treatise Kitab al-Manazrir described the law of rectilinear propagation of light and of reflection and refraction.

In 1590 the Dutch spectacle makers Hans Jannssen and his son, Zacharias built a metal tube to hold the two lenses and they first to invent a microscope but had no real idea of what to do with it.

In the 17th century, advances in optics such as the law of refraction, geometrical optics, ray tracing and Christiaan Huygens’ theory of light contributed to advance in microscopy.

The word microscope was coined in 1625 by Giovanni Faber. He used it in a letter describing an invention by Galileo. The instrument to which it applied was not what recognizes today as a microscope, it was a telescope adjusted so as to view nearby objects.

In 1652, Dutch cloth merchant Anton van Leeuwenhoek took up where the Jannssens left off. He constructed a single-lens microscope in 1675 using a small double-convex lens with maximum magnification of about 270x.

Before the invention of microscope, microorganisms were invisible and hence apparently non-existent. In the year 1665, Robert Hooke an Englishman, declared that the smallest unit of life were ‘Cells’.

The single-lens microscope was developed further in Italy and Holland, but it is as the screw-barrel microscope of James Wilson of England that it was best known.

The first move towards precision construction was made in 1744 by John Cuff. His microscope was made of brass and based upon a famous earlier design by Edmund Culpepper.

The microscope was used for medical and scientific purposes by Athanasius Kircher of Fulda. In 1658 in Rome, he wrote his publication Scrutinium Pestis.

In 1903 Richard Zsigmondy and Wilhelm Siebenkoph, while working at Carl Zeiss in Jena, invented the ultramicroscope.

Ultramicroscope can detect colloidal articles that are much smaller than the calculated classical limit of resolution in an optical microscope.
The invention of microscope
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