Some of the greatest advances in science using microscope were done in early years of microscope. First to use microscope to study parts of living organisms (like lungs, eyes of flies, feathers and cork cells - incidentally this where the word cell for cells of living organisms comes from) was Robert Hook and first one to use microscope on living cells (like blood cells and spermatozoa) was Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.
Of course many (if not all) discoveries in microbiology would not be possible without microscope. Polio vaccine (Jonas Salk), penicillin (Alexander Fleming) and structure of DNA using X-ray diffraction - type of crystallography using X-rays (James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling) to name a few.
Many things today would not be possible without microscope including almost anything in molecular biology, pharmacy and even microchip industry. The latest advancement in field of microscopy was by Eric Betzig, William Moerner and Stefan Hell who received Nobel Prize in chemistry this year for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy which can be used to study live cells on nanodimension level (we can use electron microscope for that but it kills the cells as opposed to this technique).
Microscopes have become such an essential part in the science world! Many seldom talk about Charles A. Spencer who was a telescope maker. Spencer was known for quality optics that had great angle of aperture. Spencer is what enabled the business of microscopes to grow significantly. Then there is also Robert Hooke who discover the cells while observing a sample of cork!
During the seventeenth century advancements in science using microscopes were made by two men, both of them made prominent discoveries using a microscope, they were, Robert C. Hooke and Antony van Leeuwenhoek.
1. Robert Hooke
Hooke was a natural philosopher, architect and polymath. He was the first one to discover and name cells, while conducting an experiment on a cork through the compound microscope, which was invented by him. Allan Chapman characterized him as England's Leonardo.
2. Antony van Leeuwenhoek
Leeuwenhoek was a Dutch scientist and tradesman, commonly known as the Father Of Microbiology, and is considered to be the first microbiologist. He was the first person to observe a live cell under a microscope. He created atleast 25 microscopes of different types.
Like all discoveries, the credit of microscope discovery can not be awarded to a single person. Various Scientists whose contributions are counted in this discovery are as follows:-
- Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
- Robert Hooke (1635-1703)
- Zacharias Jansen
- Carl Zeiss (1816-1888)
- Ernst Abbe (1840-1905)
- Ernst Ruska (1906-1988)
Now the main scientists who made advances in science using microscope are as follows:-
ROBERT HOOKE (1635-1703)
- Invented compound microscope
- He wrote MICROGRAPHIA, one of the most significant scientific books
- Main discovery was studying and introducing cells
- First to observe fossils and geological articles
- Wrote hooke's law or law of elasticity
ANTON VAN LEEUWENHOEK (1632-1723)
- Invented Simple microscope
- He studied red blood cells and gave an accurate description
- Studied Tissues of plants and animals
- Studied microscopic animals, in fact he was the first to observe bacteria and protozoa
In Italy, he began the analysis of biological structures beginning with the lungs.