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Amici, Giovan Battista

design improved compound microscopes

[a mee chee] (1786–1868) Italian microscopist: improved the compound microscope.

Amici trained as an engineer and architect in Bologna; he became a teacher of mathematics but was soon invited to Florence to head the observatory and science museums there. His interest from his youth was in optical instruments, especially microscopes. At that time compound microscopes were inferior to simple types, partly because of aberrations and also because of the false idea that enlargement was the dominant target of design. Amici devised in 1818 a catadioptric (mirror) design that was free of chromatic aberration and used it to observe the circulation of protoplasm in Chara cells; at once he became distinguished as an optician and as a biologist. By 1837 he had a design with a resolving power of 0.001 mm and a numerical aperture of 0.4 that was able to magnify 6000 times. His objectives had up to six elements; he invented the technique of immersion microscopy, using oil.

He also much improved telescopes, but his main interest remained in biology, where he made the notable discovery of the fertilization of phanerogams, observing in 1821 the travel of the pollen tube through the pistil of the flower.

Amies, Hardy (Edwin Hardy Amies) [next] [back] Amfitheatrof,Daniele(Alexandrovich)

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