Chapter 12

Light Microscopes

12.1 Introduction

The modern light microscope was created in the 17th century, but the origin of its important component, the lens, dates back more than three thousand years. The ancient Greeks used lenses as burning glasses, by focusing the sun’s rays. In later years, lenses were used to create glasses in Europe in order to correct for vision problems. The scientific use of lenses can be dated back to the 16th century with the creation of compound microscopes. Robert Hooke, an English physicist, was the first person to describe cells using a microscope. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch physicist, improved on the lens design and made many important discoveries. For all his research efforts, he is referred to as “the ...

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