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Portrait of Marcello Malpighi (1628-94), Italian biologist and inventor of the microscope. Following the theories of Galileo, Malpighi was the first to build a microscope, slightly ahead of Leeuwenhoek. He was a physician by training, graduating at Bologna in 1653. Malpighi's observations through his microscope were to revolutionise anatomy. He showed a mechanism for the transfer of air into the blood in the lungs, and observed capillary vessels for the first time. This completed the theory of blood circulation advanced by Harvey. After a life of research and lecturing, he spent his last three years as private physician to Pope Innocent XII.
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