Who Invented the Microscope? The first microscope was invented in 1590 by the Dutch Zacharias Janssen. This inventor created the optical microscope composed of two lenses. He developed this instrument with lenses that were made by his family. The microscope was a great innovation for those times, for being an instrument that allows us to see objects or organisms that are too small to be observed by our eyes.

The term microscope comes from the combination of two Greek words like micros which is “small” and scope which means “to look“, for what it describes this object is capable of observing really tiny objects.

The branch of science that studies very small objects with microscopes is called microscopy. Janssen’s microscope had as dimensions a tube 45 centimeters long and 5 centimeters thick. It also had a convex lens on each side, in order to have a magnification of the observed object between 3 and 9 times depending on the aperture of the diaphragm.

Who Invented The Microscope In Which Year?

This first microscope was optical because it contained two lenses. This apparatus was capable of generating a larger image of the object that was observed and operated by refraction.

The development of the microscope allowed science and scientific research to advance a lot since from this invention it was possible to study important objects invisible to human sight. Before the microscope, these types of studies could not be done exactly, because they were not visible. With the microscope, it was possible to observe structural, cellular, and component aspects found in people, animals, plants, rocks, and in all kinds of living and even inert organisms.

Before the invention of the microscope, it was not known how the smallest structures in nature were or how they worked.

Another important advance occurred in the year 1665 when it is described in a text by William Harvey how he used the microscope to observe blood capillaries. Sometime later Robert Hooke used the microscope to look at a thin piece of cork and was able to see that the material was porous and that it looked like small cells that he named cells.

  • This was the first observation of dead cells in history and all thanks to the microscope.
  • Robert published a text called Micrographia, with drawings describing the images obtained with light microscopy.
  • After a few years, the Italian biologist and anatomist Marcello Malpighi was the first to observe cells and living tissue with a microscope.
  • During the 17th century, Anton van Leeuwenhoek developed his own microscopes and managed to describe and document several relevant discoveries, such as the observation of red blood cells, bacteria, protozoa, sperm, which until then had not been seen or analyzed in detail.

In order to observe these objects, Leeuwenhoek carved his own magnifying glasses and obtained a microscope at 275 times magnification. This man went on to create 26 different microscopes throughout his life.

Leeuwenhoek became a major microscopist even though he had no scientific training. Also for his research and discoveries, he is considered the founder of bacteriology.

Microscopes with association achromatic objective lenses were developed in the 18th century, with Chris Neros and Flint Crown being the first to use them. Then in the 19th century, it was discovered that dispersion and refraction can be changed by using two or more optical means. Thanks to this knowledge, excellent quality achromatic objectives could be developed that improved microscopes.

  • At this time mechanical improvements were achieved that increased stability and simplicity for the use of microscopes. In 1877 Ernst Abbe managed to improve microscopy since he replaced water with cedar oil, so he was able to reach 2000 times the observed objects.

The Electron Microscope

  • Between 1925 and 1932 the first electron microscope was created, designed by Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll.
  • With this new microscope, greater magnification of the objects was achieved.
  • The improvement in microscopes was achieved because the electron beam instead of visible light began to be used to focus the sample to be observed, therefore, 100,000-fold magnification was achieved.
  • Electron microscopes magnify objects much more because electrons have a shorter wavelength than visible photons.

Types of Microscopes

Microscopes can be classified into simple, which are those that only use one lens to enlarge what you want to observe, and compounds, that use two or more lenses to enlarge the sample.

  • These are the most common types of a microscope but there are still other typologies. Currently, there are many types of microscopes such as light microscopes, light microscopes, electron microscopes, scanning probe microscope, atomic force microscope, virtual microscope.
  • There are other typologies that are used in scientific research, but they are less used. The most modern microscopes are digital.
  • These microscopes are connected to a computer through a USB port which allows you to see what appears under the microscope on the computer.

The images are converted into files and saved on the computer. The rest of the microscope’s operation is the same as the rest.

Modern microscopes are made up of a set of elements such as lenses, mirrors, and prisms that transmit light from the objective to the eyepiece. These will be different according to the type of microscope in question, but basically they share the same components.

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Currently, all kinds of elements such as bacteria, organisms, the composition of rocks or fluids, cells, and all kinds of really small objects found in nature can be analyzed with microscopes.

Science has come a long way thanks to the microscope since not only can you observe the components of biological objects, but you can also observe the functioning and interaction between organisms, cells, and biological substances.

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The microscope is a fundamental instrument for current scientists since it allows them to discover new knowledge constantly, which favors the understanding and understanding of certain topics, and in this way, they can solve problems especially in the medical and biological areas.