Page 158. " life of Swammerdam "

 Jan Swammerdam (1637 - 1680), was a Dutch biologist and microscopist whose observation of insects led to the understanding of their life-cycles. He was one of the first to observe and describe red blood cells, and was a pioneer in dissection and the understanding of human and animal anatomy.

A site dedicated to his life and works can be found here.

Page 158. " Lilliputian needles he made, before Lilliput was thought of "

 Lilliput is a place in the fantastical novel Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift. All of the people there are tiny, so something 'Lilliputian' is something very very small!

Page 161. " Psyche - in modern form - that poor doubting Girl "

 Pysche is a character from Greek myth, a mortal girl of such beauty that the goddess Aphrodite becomes envious of her. Aphrodite orders her son, Eros, to make Psyche fall in love with a hideous and unworthy creature. But when Eros sees Psyche he falls in love with her. Her full story can be read here.

Page 168. " as Prospero acknowledged Caliban "

 Prospero is the shipwrecked Duke and sorcerer, and Caliban the monstrous native of an island, in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.

Page 171. " strike flat the thick rotundities o'th'earth "

This is a quote from Shakespeare's King Lear, Act III, Scene ii.