Ever since their invention hundreds of years ago, microscopes have proven valuable for allowing scientists and work professionals to observe the world of the tiny. Entire new fields off science were made possible due to handheld microscopes and inspection microscopes, and these inventions derive from early work with lenses and telescopes. Today, there’s a wider range of microscope models than ever before, and even smart phones have borrowed their power with their camera lenses. A microscope app for iPhone users, for example, may be convenient for iPhone owners, and a person can search for “microscope app for iphone” online or in the App market. Other smart phones such as the Android can use them, too. A microscope app for iPhone use is amusing enough, but what might be revealed when a professional-grade microscope is used? A microscope app for iPhone use is one thing, but other microscopes can truly peer into fine details of all sorts.
Origins of the Microscope
Microscopes date as far back as telescopes do, and they are a similar concept: a collection of lenses in a tube that can, collectively, magnify and bend light for the user’s convenience. Galileo is well known for pioneering the invention and use of telescopes for astronomy, but at roughly the same time, microscopes were being pioneered as well. It is not known for certain who developed them (they may have been independently developed by more than one party), but it is accepted that the first microscopes appeared around 1590. A man named Hans Lippershey certainly filed for the first telescope patent, but evidence suggests that Hans and Zacharias Janssen, a father-son team of spectacle makers in Lippershey’s town, may have invented telescopes and microscopes.
Either way, microscopes were soon put to good use, and they revealed to scientists many details and items previously impossible to observe (often fine details on insects). An Italian scientist by the name of Francesco Stelluti made observations of a bee and made diagrams of them in 1625. Some time later, around 1683, the Dutch scientist Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek made the first known drawings of bacteria. Similarly, a scientist named Robert Hooke later observed cork under a microscope in 1665 and noted many assembled chambers within the material, reminding him of prison and jail cells. Thus, these tiny building blocks of organisms came to be known as “cells.” Microscopes continued to evolve and improve in nature and magnifying power, and they helped give rise to germ theory (which transformed medicine as we know it).
Microscopes for the Job
How are microscopes used today? A number of industries make good use of microscopes, and microscopes come in just as wide a variety. Science makes great use of microscopes (arguably how they were first used), such as for studying pathogens and microscopic parasites to learn better how to fight them. Details in hospital patients’ cells can be observed with microscopes, and entire diagnoses may be made because of the observations made with these tools. Many medical breakthroughs and diagnoses were made possible only with the power of microscopes.
Microscopes can also aid science with the field of geology. Some rock formations and crystals can be studied with the naked human eye, but very fine details can be better observed through microscopes to learn more about rock formation and Earth’s early history. In fact, microscopes were needed to observe some of the earliest known rock particles on the entire planet, which date back remarkably far in the Earth’s early history. Ancient zircons were discovered in very old rocks in Australia, dating back an incredible four billion years, roughly when crystallization occurred on planet Earth for the very first time.
Manufacturing calls for the power of microscopes as well, not just observations of nature. Many modern products have very fine details and items on them, and when these items are being built, repaired, or inspected, microscopes can do a lot of good. Computers, jewelry, and watches have fine and delicate parts which are best observed through various microscopes. A hand-held microscope may do the job, and a common but accurate depiction of a jeweler involves an eye-based microscope. A jeweler may keep their hands free while holding a small microscope in their eye socket to observe fine details on jewels and gems.