The Microscope in the Dutch Republic: The Shaping of Discovery

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 22, 2004 - Science - 348 pages
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Emphasizing the work of Jan Swammerdam and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, The Microscope in the Dutch Republic dissects the social, cultural, and emotional circumstances that shaped early microscopic discovery. Arguing that the aspects of seventeeth-century Dutch culture widely assumed to have favored the lens actually impeded its serious use, Ruestow focuses on social contexts and on Swammerdam and Leeuwenhoek's social sensibilities as the key source of their commitment to the new instrument. He also analyzes how they drew upon their cultural background to vest microscopic images with meaning, though with strikingly different emphases. Having underscored how their influential contributions to the debates over generation also illustrated the problematic role of early microscopic observations, Ruestow concludes with reflections on the eighteenth-century decline and the nineteenth-century resurgence of microscopic research and the impact of institutionalization.
 

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Contents

Of Light Lenses and Glass Beads
6
Seeming Invitations
37
Obstacles
61
Discovery Preempted
81
Swammerdam
105
Leeuwenhoek I A Clever Burgher
146
Leeuwenhoek II Images and Ideas
175
Generation I Turning against a Tradition
201
Generation II The Search for First Beginnings
223
A New World
260
Conclusion
280
References
305
Index
339
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