Louse clinging to a human hair, micrograph, 1664.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 19cm x 32cm

Louse clinging to a human hair, micrograph, 1664.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Illustration from Robert Hooke's 'Micrographia'. Hooke (1635-1703) studied at Oxford University, where he met Robert Boyle and asisted him in the construction of an air pump for use in his experiments on the effects of reduced gas presures. In 1660 he moved to London and became one of the founder members of the Royal Society, at which he held the post of 'Curator of Experiments'. 'Micrographia', the first important work on microscopy, was published in 1664 and contains illustrations of some of the specimens Hooke viewed under the compound microscope that he designed, as well as the microscope itself. The louse, which Hooke comments is 'officious', is shown clutching a human hair.

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