Old light microscope


  • May 25, 710

    nimrud lens

    710bc The Nimrud lens – a piece of rock crystal – may have been used as a magnifying glass or as a burning-glass to start fires by concentrating sunlight. It is later unearthed by Austen Henry Layard at the Assyrian palace of Nimrud in modern-day Iraq.
  • Apr 1, 1000

    First vision

    The first vision aid was invented (inventor unknown) called a reading stone. It was a glass sphere that magnified when laid on top of reading materials 1000AD
  • May 25, 1284

    usuable eyeglasses

    Italian, Salvino D'Armate was credited with making the first usable eye glasses.
  • May 25, 1400


    The art of grinding lenses is developed in Italy and spectacles are made to improve eyesight.
  • furerunner

    Zaccharias Janssen and Hans Janssen experimented with multiple lenses placed in a tube. The Janssens observed that viewed objects in front of the tube appeared greatly enlarged, creating both the forerunner of the compound microscope and the telescope.
  • compound microscope

    galileo Galilei develops a compound microscope with a convex and a concave lens.
  • silver cork discovery

    English physicist, Robert Hooke looked at a sliver of cork through a microscope lens and noticed some "pores" or "cells" in it.
  • 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
  • simple microscope

    Anton van Leeuwenhoek built a simple microscope with only one lens to examine blood, yeast, insects and many other tiny objects. Leeuwenhoek was the first person to describe bacteria, free-living and parasitic, microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes and rotifers. He invented new methods for grinding and polishing microscope lenses that allowed for curvatures providing magnifications of up to 270 diameters, the best available lenses at that time.
  • microscopes improved

    Technical inventions improved microscopes, leading to microscopy becoming popular among scientists. Lenses combining two types of glass reduced the "chromatic effect" the disturbing halos resulting from differences in refraction of light.
  • magnfiaction of the lenses

    Joseph Jackson Lister reduces round aberration or the "chromatic effect" by showing that several weak lenses used together at certain distances gave good magnification without blurring the image. This was the prototype for the compound microscope.
  • resulotion in microscopes

    Ernst Abbe, then research director of the Zeiss Optical Works, wrote a mathematical formula called the "Abbe Sine Condition". His formula provided calculations that allowed for the maximum resolution in microscopes possible.
  • ultramicroscope

    Richard Zsigmondy developed the ultramicroscope that could study objects below the wavelength of light. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1925.
  • electron microscope

    • 1931 – Ernst Ruska co-invented the electron microscope for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. Rather than light to view an object, electrons are speeded up in a vacuum until their wavelength is extremely short, only one hundred-thousandth that of white light. Electron microscopes make it possible to view objects as small as the diameter of an atom.
  • microscope that allowed colourless viewing

    Frits Zernike made the phase-contrast microscope that allowed for the study of colourless and transparent biological materials for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1953.
  • phase contrast microscope

    Frits Zernike develops phase contrast illumination, which allows the imaging of transparent samples. By using interference rather than absorption of light, transparent samples, such as cells, can be imaged without having to use staining techniques.
  • confocal laser scanning microscope

    Thomas and Christoph Cremer develop the first practical confocal laser scanning microscope, which scans an object using a focused laser beam.
  • scanning tunnel microscope

    Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer invented the scanning tunneling microscope that gives three-dimensional images of objects down to the atomic level. Binnig and Rohrer won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. The powerful scanning tunneling microscope is the strongest microscope to date.
  • super resolution microscope

    1993 - 1996 Stefan Hell pioneers a new optical microscope technology that allows the capture of images with a higher resolution than was previously thought possible. This results in a wide array of high-resolution optical methodologies, collectively termed super-resolution microscopy.
  • atoms of a virus seen

    Researchers at UCLA use a cryoelectron microscope to see the atoms of a virus.