Seven Wonders of the Invisible World

Data and Discovery

About the Course

“In the year of 1657 I discovered very small living creatures in rain water.”

This quote is attributed to Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch merchant whose skillful use of glass lenses allowed him to peer into a world of microorganisms that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. His careful observations gave way to advances in microscopy that have allowed scientists to observe detailed structures of plants, viruses invading cells, intricate crystal lattices, and the seemingly chaotic motion of small particles.

In this course, microscopy is explored, first by examining the fundamental optical systems used to magnify objects, and eventually by using sophisticated microscopes to make observations. We explore seven wonders of the invisible world—natural animate and inanimate phenomena that include micro-animals, plant and animal cells, bacteria and viruses, fungi, proteins, and naturally occurring crystals.

Why Students Should Take This Course

What have we learned about ourselves and our world since scientists first began to use microscopes? This course, which includes an introduction to microscopy, allows students to explore the relationship between the seen and unseen worlds and to examine and better understand the intricate structures that order plant, animal, and mineral systems on Earth.

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