Big micro moments
Microscopes have come a long way
The Nimrud lens is created from a rock crystal disc with a convex shape and used for burning (by concentrating the Sun’s rays) or for magnification.
Using lenses in eyeglasses becomes common practice and single lens magnifying glasses become popular.
Date of earliest description of a compound microscope after Dutch ambassador Willem Boreel sees one in London belonging to inventor Cornelis Drebbel.
The first record of claims that Hans Martens and Zacharias Janssen invented the compound microscope in 1590.
Robert Hooke publishes a collection of biological photographs in Micrographia and pioneers the word ‘cell’ for the shapes he finds in bark.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek improves the simple microscope in order to see biological samples. He later observes bacteria.
The Abbe sine condition is discovered by Ernst Abbe, a requirement that a lens needs to satisfy if it is to form a sharp image that is free of any distortions.
The field ion microscope is invented by Erwin Wilhelm Müller, making viewing atoms possible for the first time in history.
Professor of theoretical physics Frits Zernike receives the Physics Nobel Prize for inventing the phase-contrast microscope.
Erwin Wilhelm Müller builds on his original field ion microscope and creates the first atom probe, which allows the chemical identification of individual atoms for the first time.
The use of the Kelvin probe force microscope is published and is able to observe atoms and molecules.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory installs a new $27-million microscope with a resolution of half of an angstrom. It remains the most powerful microscope.