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Discovery of Cells
Next Generation: MS.LS1.1 NGSS

Discovery of Cells

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson explains how cells were first discovered, and introduces scientists that were a vital part of this discovery.

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The discovery of cells relied heavily on primitive microscopic lenses of the 17th century. 

1665 - Robert Hooke viewed cork under his microscope and described the structures as looking like little cells.  Hooke was the first known person to use the term cell.  The structure he saw was the cell wall of the cork cells.

1632-1723 - Anton van Leeuwenhoek was one of the first individuals to study magnified cells. Producing his own lenses in order to view cells, Leeuwenhoek was able to view objects magnified 270 times.

It wasn't until roughly 200 years later that the term cell caught on.  At this time several scientists made breakthroughs regarding cells theory.

1838 - Mattias Schleiden discovered that cells make up not only the stems and roots but every part of a plant. 

1855 - Rudolph Virchow found that all cells come only from other cells.

1839 - Theodor Schwann found that animals are also made of cells.

Discovery of Cells