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Microscopes

A. van Leeuwenhoek

Microscopes are to microbiology what telescopes are to astronomy.

The earliest microscopes were simple instruments consisting of one or more crude glass lenses similar to those used to make early spectacles. The invention of the first true microscope is credited to the Jansen family of Middleburg, Holland, around 1595.

Later, in the 17th century, Dutch cloth merchant and amateur scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek enlightened the world to what he dubbed “animacules” such as protozoa found in standing water. Using microscopes he made himself, Leeuwenhoek wrote up what he viewed in pond water, plant material, even gunk scraped off his teeth. He was the first to identify sperm and red blood cells.

There are two basic types of microscopes: light microscopes and electron microscopes.

 

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