The Outline of Science: A Plain Story Simply Told - Vol. 3

The Outline of Science: A Plain Story Simply Told - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

The Outline of Science: A Plain Story Simply Told - Vol. 3

The Outline of Science: A Plain Story Simply Told - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Early Microscopists

The microscope is the means by which our modern understanding of the structure and nature of living things-- as contrasted with the baseless fancies and blank ignorance of three centuries ago--has been gained. It is a noteworthy fact that even the use of a simple lens of glass or crystal as a magnifier is not recorded by ancient Greek or Roman writers --though it is difficult to believe that some of the minute engravings on ancient gems were made without the use of a magnifying-glass. It is true that Pliny tells us of the concentration of the sun's rays by a glass globe filled with water, and of the use of such a globe as a "burning glass"; but the first records we have of the use of glass lenses as optical instruments date from the early years of the fourteenth century, when they were used by ingenious Italians (some say by Roger Bacon also) to improve the failing sight of old people, and were (as they still are) called "spectacles." In a portrait of Pope Leo X, painted by Raphael in 1520, the Pope is drawn holding a hand-magnifier, evidently intended to enable him to read the pages of a book open before him.

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