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Who Discovered Cells?

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Robert Hooke discovered cells in both living and dead organisms. This British scientist was born in Britain on July 18th, 1635. His father was the curator of a church. As a child, he was often sick and was initially home-schooled. He developed an active interest on mechanical studies early in his life.

Robert Hooke's book, MicrographiaIn Robert Hooke’s book, Micrographia, on page 114 is shown the illustration of a cork’s cell, which he said looks like a monk’s “cell”. Starting from that page, we have been using the word ever since.

Worked for a famous scientist

Eventually, he attended the Westminster School and Oxford. In 1653, he started to work in the post of a “chemical assistant” for a British doctor, Thomas Willis. Later in 1657, he started working with renowned English scientist Robert Boyle as an assistant. He performed various experiments during his work with Robert Boyle including with an air pump machine.

He also helped Boyle with his research

Some even suggested that Hooke had an important contribution in the development of the famous “Boyle’s Law”. Robert Hooke was one of the founding member of the Royal Society, which was then established as the “The Philosophical Society of Oxford” and presented his theories and work regularly to his fellow members. Between 1663 and 1664, he started to work on microscopic observations.

How he came up with the term cells?

He used both the microscope and the telescope to study the structure of various biological organisms and non-living things. His first breakthrough came with an experiment with a cork, where he discovered that a cork was made of a single unit. Thus, he discovered cell in non-living things. After that, he experimented with different plants and discovered the cells from the tissue of a plant. He was the first person to use the term “cells”. It is said that he named the term “cells” because it resembles the cells in which monks would work in. In 1665, he published his work on microscopic studies in the book “Micrographia”, the first ever book on cells.

More on cells

  1. Discovery of Stem cells
  2. Discovery of Ribosomes
  3. Discovery of DNA
  4. Facts about cells