History of the Microscope

  • Jan 1, 1301

    Grinding Lenses

    Grinding Lenses
    The art of grinding lenses is developed in Italy and spectacles are made to improve eyesight.
  • First Microscope

    First Microscope
    Dutch lens grinders Hans and Zacharias Janssen make the first microscope by placing two lenses in a tube.
  • Discovery of Micrographia

    Discovery of Micrographia
    Robert Hooke studies various object with his microscope and publishes his results in Micrographia. Among his work were a description of cork and its ability to float in water.
  • Anton van Leeuwenhoek

    Anton van Leeuwenhoek
    Anton van Leeuwenhoek uses a simple microscope with only one lens to look at blood, insects and many other objects. He was first to describe cells and bacteria, seen through his very small microscopes with, for his time, extremely good lenses.
  • Easier Microscope Handeling

    Easier Microscope Handeling
    Several technical innovations make microscopes better and easier to handle, which leads to microscopy becoming more and more popular among scientists. An important discovery is that lenses combining two types of glass could reduce the chromatic effect, with its disturbing halos resulting from differences in refraction of light.
  • Reduction of spherical aberration

    Reduction of spherical aberration
    Joseph Jackson Lister reduces the problem with spherical aberration by showing that several weak lenses used together at certain distances gave good magnification without blurring the image.
  • Calculation of scopes max resolution

    Calculation of scopes max resolution
    Ernst Abbe formulates a mathematical theory correlating resolution to the wavelength of light. Abbes formula make calculations of maximum resolution in microscopes possible.
  • Development of ultramicroscope

    Development of ultramicroscope
    Richard Zsigmondy develops the ultramicroscope and is able to study objects below the wavelength of light.
    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1925
  • Phase-contrast microscope

     Phase-contrast microscope
    Frits Zernike invents the phase-contrast microscope that allows the study of colorless and transparent biological materials.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1953 »
  • Electron Microscope

    Electron Microscope
    Ernst Ruska develops the electron microscope. The ability to use electrons in microscopy greatly improves the resolution and greatly expands the borders of exploration.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1986 »
  • Scanning tunneling microscope

    Scanning tunneling microscope
    Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer invent the scanning tunneling microscope that gives three-dimensional images of objects down to the atomic level.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1986 »
  • Digital Microscope Invented

    Digital Microscope Invented