Focusing on the two seventeenth-century pioneers of microscopic discovery, the Dutchmen Jan Swammerdam and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the author demonstrates that their uneasiness with their social circumstances spurred their discoveries. Ruestow argues that while aspects of Dutch culture impeded serious research with the microscope, the contemporary culture shaped how Swammerdam and Leeuwenhoek responded to what they saw through the lens. For those interested in the history of science, this book considers the impact of institutionalization on microscopic research, and dissects the cultural, social and emotional circumstances that shaped early microscopic discovery.
Table of ContentsIntroduction; 1. Of light, lenses and glass beads; 2. Seeming invitations; 3. Obstacles; 4. Discovery preempted; 5. Swammerdam; 6. Leeuwenhoek I: A clever burgher; 7. Leeuwenhoek II: Images and ideas; 8. Generation I: Turning against a tradition; 9. Generation II: The search for first beginnings; 10. A new world; Conclusion.