Monthly Archives: January 2018

1643: Discovery of the Vacuum

The existence of a vacuum, a space completely empty of matter, had been debated since at least the ancient Greek philosophers, and probably much longer.  In 1643 the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli showed that for all practical purposes a vacuum … Continue reading

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1590s: The Microscope

Like many inventions, the exact date of the first microscope is disputed and confused, however credit is sometimes given to Zacharias Janssen and his father Hans Martenz for creating the first microscope as early as 1590, or possibly in 1595.  … Continue reading

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Antony Van Leeuvenhoek

Important advances in microbiology were made by Antony van Leeuvenhoek (1632 – 1723), which include a substantial improvement on the microscope followed by the discovery of a variety of single celled organisms. Antony Van Leeuvenhoek was for his time an … Continue reading

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1665: The Cell

The observation of what was coined the cell by Robert Hooke in 1665 provided the starting point for a sequence of discoveries at the microscopic level and continuing into our present time that have revolutionized our view of life.  While … Continue reading

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Robert Hooke

Seventeenth century England underwent sweeping changes in all aspects of human civilization and Robert Hooke (1635 – 1703) helped to provide a catalyst in ushering humanity into the modern scientific era.  Among his greatest accomplishments include discovering the building blocks … Continue reading

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William Harvey

The English physician William Harvey (1578 – 1657) earns the accolade of being the first person to describe the circulatory system, largely laid out in his 1628 book On the Motion of the Heart and Blood.  Harvey made his discoveries … Continue reading

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1628: Blood Circulation

After thirty years of research, William Harvey’s landmark book On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals established once and for all that blood flow was entirely circular and that the heart was a pump.  This marks the … Continue reading

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John Napier

John Napier (1550 – 1617) was a Scottish mathematician best known for his formulation of logarithms which provided aid to mathematical calculations.  In 1614 he published he book titled A Description of the Wonderful Law of Logarithms, which explained the … Continue reading

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1608: The Refracting Telescope

The first evidence for what later was to be called the telescope was the submission of a patent to the Dutch government in 1608 by Hans Lippershey, although it is likely that the idea was hit upon earlier by other … Continue reading

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Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) was famously placed on house arrest by the Catholic church inquisition for his astronomical discoveries that disagreed with the accepted church dogma of the time.  It would prove to be a defining moment in scientific … Continue reading

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