The Epic History of Biology

By Anthony Serafini | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
Ray and the Emergence of Cell Theory

Another intrepid naturalist, Robert Hooke, entered the world in 1635. Among his many distinctions was his role in helping to shape the destiny of the Royal Society of London. He too contributed both to the technology and the popularity of the microscope. In his published discourses he constantly pressed readers to make extensive use of it. He first devised the concept of the cell, even giving it that name. This he accomplished in his Micrographia, which he wrote when he was not yet thirty years of age. In it he gives the scientific community the very first accurate description of cells in cork.

There has been some controversy, historically, about what exactly Hooke contributed to cell theory. According some authors, he contributed more than is commonly acknowledged. Robert Downs, for example, in his book Landmarks in Science, claims this, in quoting from the American biologist Edwin Conklin:

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