Light Years pp 51-71 | Cite as

Engines of Light

  • Brian Clegg
Part of the Macmillan Science book series (MACSCI)


The human eye is an amazing instrument, but it can only see so far. As optical science blossomed, devices to improve on the eye’s capabilities were added to the scientists’ toolkit. The optical powerhouses of Renaissance science were the microscope and the telescope. In principle these engines of advancement could definitely have been developed earlier. Basic lenses had been around since before Bacon’s time, while magnifying mirrors date right back to Archimedes. We have seen that both Bacon and Leonardo may already have dabbled with early forms of telescope and microscope.


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© Brian Clegg 2008

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  • Brian Clegg

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