|Diagram of the cell-as-molecule approach (viewing a cell as a type of large molecule), according to English physical biologist Lionel Harrison, based on the 1970 work of embryonic chick tissue formation experiments of American cellular pathologist Malcolm Steinberg. |
In 1665, Robert Hooke became the first person to see and draw cells, plant cells in particular, under microscope; describing them as such, being that they looked like prison “cells”.
In 1930, Belgian physician and cellular researcher Albert Claude developed the cell fractionation technique, with which he discovered the cell organelles, namely: mitochondrion (which, in his Harvey Lecture, he famously first characterized as the “power plants of the cell”), chloroplast, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, ribosome, and lysosome; was the first to apply electron microscope in biology, thereby in 1945 publishing the first detailed structure of the cell.
In 1993, the physical chemistry viewed “cell-as-molecule” approach, in upgrade to cell as first living thing, was introduced in 1993 by English-born Canadian physical chemist and theoretical biologist Lionel Harrison (1929-2008). 
● Albert Claude
1. Harrison, Lionel G. (2011). The Shaping of Life: the Generation of Biological Pattern (cell-as-molecule, 4+ pgs; image, pg. 145).
2. Harrison, Lionel G. (1993). Kinetic Theory of Living Pattern (pg. 136). Cambridge University Press.
● Brooks, Daniel R. and Wilson, Edward O. (1988). Evolution as Entropy: Toward a Unified theory of Biology (pgs. 124-28). University of Chicago Press.