Origin and development of the microscope
The origins of the microscope are linked to those of the telescope. The first microscopes, called compound microscopes, consisted of two or more lenses inserted into a rigid tube. The invention is attributed to Galileo, although, in the 17tháC., the claim was contested by others. Giovanni Faber, a fellow of the Accademia dei Lincei, coined the word "microscope" to describe the instrument in 1625. The compound microscopes of the Italian Eustachio Divini and Giuseppe Campani testify to the significant improvements made to the instrument in the second half of the century, while, in England, Robert Hooke reached new levels of excellence. Other innovations were introduced in the 18tháC. by English makers. The latter produced microscopes for the upper classes, who used the instrument for refined intellectual entertainment. The innovations mainly concerned the mechanical part of the instrument. By contrast, optical performances remained fairly poor because of spherical aberration and chromatic aberration. These were eliminated only in the first half of the 19tháC., also thanks to the efforts of Giovan Battista Amici. The simple microscope, comprising a single lens, offered better optical performance. Having won acceptance in the second half of the 17tháC., chiefly through the efforts of the Dutch naturalist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the simple microscope—despite its clear limitations—was preferred by naturalists, especially for fieldwork and dissection.
Last update 19/feb/2008