During the early 1600s the invention of the microscope completely revolutionized the path of science. After the initial invention of the microscope, scientists began rapidly discovering a whole “new world” that could only be seen through a microscope, and was not apparent to the naked eye. Eventually, Robert Hooke, a microscopist from England, was credited with the discovery of cells. Hooke cut thin slices of cork and viewed them under a microscope. He then called the little compartments he saw under the microscopes cells.
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Also during this time, Anton can Leeuwenhoek, was spending his time building single-lensed microscopes of good worth. Leeuwenhoek also spent a great deal of time writing down what he observed under the microscope and sent his observations to the Royal Society of London, furthering scientific development. One such finding was the examination of a drop of pond water, in which he found microscopic “beasties” moving around. This was the first discovery of its time – for the first time people were observing the tiny microscopic organisms and cells that exist in all living things. From there, the use and knowledge of the microscope only improved. However, it was due to the two pioneers of science, and others like them in their field, that the foundation of the microscope is what it is today.
Over the course of the next few centuries, the microscope began to improve greatly, as did scientific knowledge of what living things were made up of. New theories were developing left and right. In 1838 Matthias Schleidan proposed that all plants were composed of cells, and a year later Theodor Schwann extended that idea and stated that both all plants and all animals were composed of cells. Later he proposed the first two beliefs of the cell theory, which are: all organisms are composed of one of more cells and the cell is the basic organizational unit of life. These key ideas have led scientists of modern day to expand on their ideas, and scientist believe they know every part of the cell. This knowledge would not be possible without the ideas proposed by Schleidan and Schwann over 100 years ago, and also the advances in the modern technology of the microscope.
The field of microscopy gradually kept progressing until it founded the light compound microscope. The light compound microscope had a total magnification of 1000x and was perfect in the year 1925. However, the light compound microscope had a major disadvantage in that it only gave information about the generalized cell. It showed that the cell had a vacuole, and nucleus, and mitochondrion, but nothing was known about the fine structure of the cell, that is, until the late 1950s. During the late 1950s the electron microscope was perfected and it had better magnification and resolution (clarity). This meant that all the fine structures of the cell that were not visible with the light microscope could now be seen. It is with the electron microscope that the class performed the experiment, allowing the class to see all the fine structures that organisms contained.
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