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13 Things 2009

13 Things 2008

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology

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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423

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The magnifying glass of the famous naturalist Charles Darwin (Source:

Much historical and scientific inquiry has been done into magnification, optics, and microscopy. In this section, I aim to define the physical parameters of the magnifying glass and briefly outline the optical principles which govern its use. Historically, the magnifying glass is rarely dealt with in specifics, although many examples of magnifying glasses from throughout history remain intact today. The history of optics provides some insight into why this is; there is much dispute, divergence, and uncertainty surrounding the historical development of optics and optical tools. Therefore, the physical distinction between a magnifying glass and a single lens may in fact be too minute to be useful in this vast history of optics. Despite this complicated past, the magnifying glass emerged as one of the most commonly reproduced form of magnifiers.

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Materiality of the Magnifying Glass

Optical Principles of the Magnifying Glass

Historical Context of the Magnifying Glass

Back to The Magnifying Glass project page.

Posted at Dec 05/2008 03:59PM:
chris witmore: Hi Rebecca, you might consider referencing some of the key works here.

Posted at Dec 21/2008 11:47AM:
chris witmore: A nice project Rebecca. Great work.