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Look Inside The Microscope in the Dutch Republic

The Microscope in the Dutch Republic
The Shaping of Discovery


  • Date Published: September 1996
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521470780

£ 92.00

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About the Authors
  • Focusing on the two seventeenth-century pioneers of microscopic dicovery, the Dutchmen Jan Swammerdam and Antoni van Leewenhoek, Ruestow demonstrates that their uneasiness with their social circumstances spurred their discoveries. Though arguing that aspects of Dutch culture impeded serious research with the microscope, Ruestow also shows, however, that the culture of the period shaped how Swammerdam and Leewenhoek responded to what they saw through the lens. He concludes by emphasising how their early microscopic efforts differed from the institutionalised microscopic research that began in the nineteenth century.

    • Emphasis on social context and personal reactions to that context as a key motivational source for the beginnings of microscopic discovery
    • Analysis of the complex, partly obstructive role of seventeenth-century Dutch culture in shaping early microscopic discovery
    • Argument that social and cultural circumstances exhilarating experience of discovery
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Ruestow offers us an extremely thorough study of a fascinating period in the history of science … Ruestow is to be congratulated for producing a work that will be read with profit for many years to come.' G. L. E. Turner, Nature

    ' … clearly and lucidly written …' Endeavour

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1996
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521470780
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 161 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.649kg
    • contains: 29 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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

  • Author

    Edward G. Ruestow, University of Colorado, Boulder

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