What Is Cell Theory? by Marina CohenThis fascinating title examines the sequence of events that led to the formation of cell theory. In 1665, scientist Robert Hooke published Micrographia, the first significant work focused on miscroscopial observation. Later, Hookes groundbreaking work inspired scientists such as Theodor Schwann, Matthias Schleiden, and Rudolph Virchow and led to the creation of this fundamental biological principle that shaped modern biology.
It was Robert Hooke in the 17th century who first observed cells and gave them that name, but the German botanist Matthias Schleiden —81 was the first scientist to appreciate their importance. All living organisms either consist of a single cell or are made up of cells, and organisms grow and reproduce by the division of cells. This fundamental tenet of biology is called the cell theory. It was first stated in in a book by Schleiden entitled Beitrage zur Phytogenesis Contributions of phytogenesis. Schleiden based his conclusion on observations of plant tissues. Hooke had examined the dead tissues he found in cork, but Schleiden studied living cells and he saw that their contents moved within and between the cells and along fibers composed of elongated cells joined end to end.
Theodor Schwann is best remembered for the eponymous Schwann cell that he studied and described in his microscopic studies of nervous tissue. However, his most important contribution to science would be the fact that he was one of the founders of the 'Cell doctrine' which proposed that all living beings were made of fundamental units called cells - a foundational principle on which rests much of our understanding of biological science. Schwann was one of the first scientists to break away from vitalism to lean toward a mechanistic or physico-chemical explanation of living processes which proposed that the biological processes in cells and living beings could be explained by physical and chemical phenomena. He was also involved in describing the physiology of bile and the enzyme pepsin which furthered our understanding of the physiology of digestion. His contributions to biology and medicine has paved the way for the emergence and blooming of several fields of study such as microbiology, pathology, histology and the principle of antibiotics. Advanced Search. Aminoff M, Daroff RB.
The German biologist Theodor Schwann is considered a founder of the cell theory. He also discovered pepsin, the first digestive enzyme prepared from animal tissue, and experimented to disprove spontaneous generation. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the respiration of the chick embryo. From extracts which he made of stomach lining, Schwann demonstrated that a factor other than hydrochloric acid was operating in digestion. Two years later, in , he succeeded in isolating the active principle, which he named pepsin. Between and Schwann undertook a series of experiments designed to settle the question of the truth or falsity of the concept of spontaneous generation.
Theodor Schwann (1810-1882)
Cells are the basic unit of structure in all organisms and also the basic unit of reproduction. With continual improvements made to microscopes over time, magnification technology advanced enough to discover cells in the 17th century. This discovery is largely attributed to Robert Hooke , and began the scientific study of cells, also known as cell biology. Over a century later, many debates about cells began amongst scientists. Most of these debates involved the nature of cellular regeneration, and the idea of cells as a fundamental unit of life. Cell theory was eventually formulated in This is usually credited to Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann.
In Theodor Schwann published a monograph that declared all animals and plants are made from one single fundamental unit. It was an insight founded on years of research by scientists looking through their microscopes to discover, bit by bit, that animals and plants are full of cells. In the mid s the question of how cells formed existed in controversy. Schwann wrote that cells formed by crystallization of inanimate material inside the cell. The idea hearkened to The Theory of Spontaneous Generation and it is doubtful whether Schwann himself believed it. The correct notion that cells originated from pre-existing cells had already been posed, but Schleiden opposed this organic view believing instead in a physio-chemical explanation.
They were all working independently on different plant hybrids, and came to the same conclusions about inheritance as Mendel. Robert Hooke was one of the first scientists to describe a cell. Theodor Schwann redefined the cell as a living unit. Theodor Schwann was born in Neuss, Germany. He studied medicine in Berlin , and after graduation went on to do an assistantship in anatomy. In , Schwann and Matthias Jakob Schleiden developed the "cell theory.