Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

October 24th

Born 24 Oct 1632; died 26 Aug 1723 at age 90.
Dutch biologist and microscopist who by skilled use of microscopy first discovered bacteria, protists, sperm cells, blood cells and various structures in animal and plant tissues. Published translations of his letters to the Royal Society were widely read. Researching microorganisms was a new frontier for science, that refuted the doctrine of spontaneous generation. Leeuwenhoek has been called the “Father of Microbiology.” Microscopes had been invented before he was born, but the lenses he ground were significantly better for detailed examination of microscopic life. He may have been inspired by illustrations in  Robert Hooke’s book, Micrographia. Fewer than 10 of his 500 microscopes have survived.

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