MYP1A By: Arman Jindal Due: 17/11/11
For Ms. Maya
This is our first essay. I am going to take you on a journey through the history of the light
microscope. This is a one world essay, which means it is a global perspective and the effects it
has on our modern day world.
What is the science behind the Light microscope? Who thought of the first microscope?
Ever since the 1500s, the light microscope has given us huge amounts of information in biology,
biomedical research, and medical diagnostics etc….1. The way Pic 1
microscopes work is it bends the light in a parallel way, then reflects the
light on the bottom mirror into your eye. The light lights up the
microscopic object you are trying to see. The very core of the
microscope is simply the glass. In the year 100, the Romans came across
glass, they studied it and tested different densities, different shapes. Then
they concluded that when you hold a lens over an object, the object
magnifies. There were many other uses for a magnified glass like being
able to concentrate the sun’s ray. Zaccharias Janssen and his father
started inquiring and experimenting with the lens. They put several
glasses in a tube and found out that the object closer to the tube was
enlarged by so much more than a single magnified glass could achieve
by itself; this is called the compound microscope. A compound microscope has two or more
lenses. Who many call the “The father of microscopes”, Anthony Leeuwenhoek started using a
magnified glass at a dry goods store to count the thread. He understood the magnificence behind
the magnified glass and started making his own. By grinding and polishing he was able to make
small lenses with great curves and arks. His rounder microscopes were able to magnify up to
260X. He started using it to study tiny animal, plants and so many more. This was a great
discovery and led to so many other discoveries that aren’t all related to simply enhancing the
microscope. However little was done to change the microscope until the middle of the 19th
century; that is what we called the modern day light microscope.
Pic 3 His first drawing of the microscope Anton van Leeuwenhoek
What does the microscope allow us to see and understand? How have we benefitted from the microscope? Pic 3
This one invention has changed the very way we live. The main advantage of the microscope is
that it simply allows you to observe cells, bacteria’s, atoms, DNA
particles, and so many more. But even if we see them how can that help
us? Seeing diseases, bacteria’s and other harmful microorganisms in
their natural habitat gives us a chance to synthesize and find cures. The
cell is alive making it easy to study the characteristics/ normal habitat
etc. allowing us to synthesize a cure for disease and sicknesses like
cancer, colds, pneumonia etc. Using microscopes we can understand the
genetics, like GMO (genetically modified organisms). We can speed up the growth of plants,
make them seedless, make them tastier and so much more and all this simply understands the cell
and genetics. This is some of the things the light microscope can do.
What are the disadvantages and limitations of the Light Microscope?
Pic 4 Now we can do so much with knowledge but even enhancing food is being questioned
by other scientist, there are so many things like cloning and “the perfect human”. There can be a
whole new kind of warfare and if the knowledge falls into the wrong
hands in the future there can be great harm. I know this hypothetical and
doesn’t sound very realistic but it still is a possibility. But what makes the
microscope imperfect? There must be a slight flaw. Well with a light
microscope or any optical device like a telescope and even a window you
face something called diffraction (bending, confusion). They are like
visible waves of light which are about 300 to 900 nanometer. People say
that this “deffracts” as in the light bends around obstacles. Basically when
the light enters the lens, because the lens is bigger than 900 nanometers
the light will spread out making it blurry in the visual field.
How has this amazing invention changed our lives? Universally
It has opened the eyes of the whole world to the domain of the unseen, so many microscopic
things that can be viewed through the microscope. The things that we can’t see are the most
intriguing, we can study so many bacteria’s, atoms, and so many more unlocking the door that
stops us from finding cures and even preventing new sickness from spreading. To counter act
anything you need to understand the basics; where they best reproduce, the ideal conditions and
what will attack the disease. When I talk about the affects the microscope has had on us I can
only give you a qualitative observation because I cannot put a number on the amount of lives
saved by the microscope. This has changed the whole worlds perception on life, many people
had these crazy visions about how we lived and back then we didn’t have clue. When the
microscope was used we were able to see CELLs, the very things that make who we are. Joseph
Lister the father of modern surgery designed the new lens for the microscope making it more of a
scientific tool and this helped him greatly when he made the first anti-septic. Back than more
than half the patients died from infection. That isn’t the only contribution but my point is that the
Light Microscope has helped and saved so many lives directly and indirectly.
Word count for essay= 945 Total word count= 1156
Picture 1: David Garrison , page by Stephen Whitt (2001 September 1). The Microscope.
Science/Biology. At: Yesmag.com: Yes Magazines, Kids information.
Picture 2: Public Domain , page by Stephen Whitt (2001 September 1). The Microscope.
Science/Biology. At: Yesmag.com: Yes Magazines, Kids information.
Picture 3: UCLA (unknown). First drawing of the microscope. Reliable information. At: UCLA Library
Picture 4: Nancy Nehring page by Stephen Whitt (2001 September 1). The Microscope. Science/Biology.
At: Yesmag.com: Yes Magazines, Kids information. http://www.yesmag.ca/how_work
Main source (general reference)
1) David Garrison (2001). Yes Mag microscopes [online]. [Accessed 17/11/11]. Available from:
http://www.yesmag.ca/how_work/microscope.html>. (Paragraph 1 & 2)
2) Benjamin Monreal, Grad student, Physics, MIT (2004). C
Biology (limitations of a light microscope) [online]. [Accessed 17/11/11]. Available from:
<http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2004-09/1096059951.Cb.r.html>. (Paragraph 2)
3) TeeTee (4 years ago). How did the microscope change human understanding of life?
[online]. [Accessed 17/11/11]. Available from:
<http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071024194041AASYKZm>. (Paragraph 3)
Help 1: Jefferson Lab (scientific vocabulary) [online]. (2000) [Accessed 17/11/11]. Available from:
<http://education.jlab.org/beamsactivity/6thgrade/vocabulary/index.html>. (Paragraph 3)
Help 2: Joseph Lister; Father of surgery [online]. (unknown) [Accessed 17/11/11]. Available
Citation generator; Harvard style reference; dairy science [online]. (2000) [Accessed 17/11/11].
Available from: <http://www.dairyscience.info/harvard/referencegen.php#ref>.