Share
Explore BrainMass

Discoveries made possible by the telescope and microscope.

I need some help with the following paper:

Identify two significant discoveries that were made possible by the invention of the telescope, and two significant discoveries that were made possible by the invention of the microscope. These discoveries should be such that human well being has been advanced and human understanding of nature has been significantly enhanced.
Include a short description of each discovery, including dates and principal discoverers.
Descibe how each discovery has challenged traditions and changed society for the good. Does the discovery continue to affect present-day populations?

The paper should be from 1750 - 2100 words.

Solution Preview

Two discoveries that came about because of the microscope:
Blood types and polio
The most dreaded childhood disease in the late 1800's and early 1900's was childhood polio. Polio is relayed from person to person via the fecal-oral route. Typically it affects the spinal cord and children suffer the paralysis and atrophy of one or both legs. As early as the late 1600's the scientist Leeuwenhoek discovered the presence of red blood cells as well as microorganisms in water and body fluids.

Karl Landsteiner was an American scientist and is credited for being the first person to identify the major blood groups in 1901. His studies of blood types prepared him for his later and perhaps more famous discovery. In 1909, along with Erwin Popper, Karl Landsteiner discovered the polio virus. His accomplishments led to his receiving the Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine in 1930.

Landsteiner's achievements are somewhat taken for granted today. Many people know their blood type but few know the name of the man who discovered the different types of blood. Prior to this discovery many people died from attempted blood transfusions. Landsteiner realized that people of the same blood group could share blood while people from different blood groups might be adversely affected. Today a simple blood test can reveal which type someone is and can save their life by eliminating the possibility that they receive the wrong type of blood. Additionally blood type information is used in paternity suits, and crime scene analysis as a way to eliminate suspects as potential fathers or criminals. Landsteiner's discovery of blood types is still impacting society in positive ways to this day.

Though his work with blood types is still relevant today, it was his success with discovering the polio virus that made the greatest immediate impact on the society that Landsteiner lived in. Polio was a terrible and terrifying disease. In the late 19th century children, especially in cities and during the summer months would be struck down with sickness. Over the course of a few weeks one or both legs would be affected, the muscles would be crippled and the limbs would begin to atrophy. Children were struck down in the prime of their lives and suffered for the rest of their lives with crippled limbs and limited movement.

Because Landsteiner was able to isolate the polio virus, future scientists were able to create a vaccine that could provide immunity to the dreaded disease. Landsteiner thus benefited humanity in a great way by removing the fear that parents had of their children being struck down with polio. Today, in most nations of the world, polio is only a distant memory but during Landsteiner's life it was a dreaded and feared disease. His success in isolating the polio virus was a huge step for ...

Solution Summary

This is a lengthy evaluation of the technologies of the microscope and telescope. Their invention and impact on society are examined. How have they increased human wellbeing and advanced human understanding? How have traditions been challenged and society been changed for the better?

Over 1,700 words of original text along with documented sources.

$2.19