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- Bubonic plague: bacterial disease carried by fleas of infected Old English rats. At its worst, it killed two million people a year. Those that caught the disease had a 90% chance of dying from it.
- Microscope: an instrument used to see objects or parts of objects, which are too small to be seen with only our eyes... more
Robert Hooke (1635-1703)
The cover of Robert Hooke's Micrographia, published in 1665, is shown to the right. In it he described how to make a microscope like the one he used. Hooke also wrote how a short focus lens is constructed.
In a flame he draws a thin fiber from Venetian glass and melts it into a tiny bulb, which is then ground and polished.
Within the publication more than 30 detailed drawings appeared including the famous one from cork that provided the first documentation of a single cell. He also examined hair under a microscope and made a note that some of the hairs were split at the ends. This is possibly the first notation of split ends.
Examples of Hooke's detailed drawings can be seen in the illustration of a cork and a flea below. It was in his description of cork that he first used the term "cell" even though he did not know how important his discovery would become. The cell wasn't really understood until 1839 when scientists began to discover its importance.
As it turned out, the flea in this illustration was the carrier of the Bubonic Plague that was sweeping through Europe at the time. However, this was not known by Hooke.