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Meet 8 scientists who changed history through microscopy
Celebrating innovative minds in science, technology, engineering and math

With STEM Day just around the corner, we’re honoring individuals in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields who changed history through microscopy. 

If the names Robert Hooke or Antony van Leeuwenhoek sound familiar (or especially if they don’t) read on.

1. Hans & Zacharias Janssen (16th Century) 

Let’s start at the beginning. A Dutch father-son team invented the first compound microscope in the late 16th century. 

They discovered that if they put a lens at the top and bottom of a tube and looked through it, objects on the other end were magnified. 

Even though it only magnified between 3 - 9 times, it laid the groundwork for many future breakthroughs. 

2. Robert Hooke (1635 - 1703)

In 1667, an English natural scientist named Robert Hooke published Micrographia, a famous book containing intricate drawings of hundreds of specimens he observed, including distinct sections within the branch of a herbaceous plant. 

Hooke called those sections cells, because they reminded him of cells in the monastery.

And just like that, he became the father of cellular biology. 

3. Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632 - 1723)

This Dutch merchant-turned-scientist worked on improving the microscope with the goal of looking at the cloth and thread he sold.

However, he inadvertently made a groundbreaking discovery: that bacteria exists.

When observing water closely, he was surprised to see tiny organisms. 

This accidental discovery and his work in microscopy make him a pioneer of microbiology.

4. Rudolf Virchow (1821 - 1902)

German researcher Rudolf Virchow is considered one of the most influential teachers of pathology of the 1800s. 

The microscope was at the centre of Virchow’s work on disease, which involved investigating tissue and cells in the lab, then relating his findings back to clinical changes in his patients. 

5. Arthur Hill Hassall (1817 - 1894)

Arthur Hill Hassall was a british physician, and pioneer in using microscopy as a tool in public health and medicine.  

His work showed how microscopy and laboratory science could help gather evidence about health and disease.

6. Richard Zsigmondy (1865 - 1929)

Austrian chemist and professor Richard Zsigmondy invented the ultramicroscope, which allowed for the observation of specimens below the wavelength of light.

The ultrascope allowed him to make numerous discoveries regarding the nature of colloids. 

7. Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895)

Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist, who is renowned for his discovery of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. 

His work changed medicine. Through using the microscope, he proved that germs cause disease. Alongside his team, he also developed vaccines for anthrax and rabies, and created the process of pasteurization. 

8. Ernst Ruska (1906 - 1988)

Ernst Ruska is a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for his work in electron optics, including the design of the first electron microscope. 

Described as “one of the most important inventions of the century,” this tool was revolutionary in researching medicine, neurology, bacteriology, biology, chemistry and physics, and changed nearly every aspect of scientific research by increasing magnification up to 10,000,000 times. 

Whether you’re making advances in the lab or inspiring future scientists in a classroom, we’ve got the perfect equipment for you this STEM Day, including our best-selling JuniorScope

Introducing the Ultimate Kid’s Microscope

Omano’s JuniorScope is the ultimate gift for the budding young scientist in your life. This best-seller is a real compound microscope designed for kids 8+, with high-grade precision glass optics for clear viewing and 3 magnification levels.

It also comes with a slide kit, including “the amazing microscope adventures” experiment cards. 

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