The invention of Microscope and Telescope opened up whole new worlds, one tiny, the other huge. Without them, the universe wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.
Teeny Weeny. The inventors of the first microscope were Dutch spectacle makers Zaccharias and Hans Janssen, around 1600. A few years later the famous inventor Galileo came up with an improved version that had a focusing device.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) was the first person to devote himself to the study of really tiny things, and developed an instrument that enabled him to see bacteria and blood corpuscles. Leeuwenhoek’s microscope could magnify objects by 270 times.
Today’s light microscopes allow us to see objects as small as one thousandth of a millimeter! And electron microscopes, invented in 1931 by Max Knott and Ernst Ruska, can magnify objects by several million times.
Round about the same time as microscopes were invented, someone was b inventing the telescope (no one’s quite sure who was the first, Hans Lipperhey, James Metius or Zaccharias Janssen).
Galileo (him again) got his hands on the design, improved it, and used it to discover all kinds of exciting stuff, including Jupiter’s moons and the rings of Saturn.
The most powerful telescopes today are the two Keck telescopes in Hawaii. Each one is eight storeys high and weighs 300 tonnes. They don’t give as clear images as the Hubble Space Telescope though, which is much smaller but orbits the Earth in space.