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Anton van Leeuwenhoek – The Father of Microbiology

Anton van Leeuwenhoek was a Dutch scientist who was born on October 24, 1632, in, what was at the time, the Dutch Republic.

Anton van Leeuwenhoek was proclaimed “The Father of Microbiology” by the scientific world for his numerous contributions to science throughout his lifetime. He made discoveries about bacteria, spermatozoa, single-celled life forms, the size and shape of red blood cells, and lymphatic capillaries, but his greatest accomplishment was creating magnifying lenses for microscopes. Anton van Leeuwenhoek was able to achieve many feats and develop and improve science for centuries to come.

Throughout his early life, Anton van Leeuwenhoek travelled at a young age to find work. Anton van Leeuwenhoek saw his first simple microscope when he was 16 while in Amsterdam. At the time, he had secured an apprenticeship with a cloth maker and was working as a bookkeeper and a cashier. By 1654, he returned to his hometown, Delft, and established his own successful drapery business. However, Anton’s interest in microscopes and glass processing would continue to prosper leading him to create ground-breaking discoveries later in life.

Although Anton van Leeuwenhoek is known as the “Father of Microbiology” and is praised upon by the scientific community, it was surprising that he made the discoveries he did. Since he came from a family with a long line of tradesmen, it was unexpected that he would become a scientist. He was an unlikely scientist due to the fact that no one prior to him in his family had received any higher education or university degrees. Due to his family’s shortcoming in education, the scientific community at the time excluded him completely. However, Anton overlooked this factor and succeeded in making some of the most important discoveries in the history of biology.

Anton van Leeuwenhoek learned to create lenses and made simple microscopes in which he used to make observations. After coming upon a copy of Robert Hooke’s book of Micrographia, Anton had become inspired and began developing microscopes. He created lenses that ranged in magnification from 50 to about 300 times. He had never told anyone the secret of how he created his lenses and often joked with the public about creating them. Many people sought after his secret and to throw his competitors off, Anton would talk about how he had to grind glass for long periods of time to create his lenses. His secret of making such impressive lenses was carried with him to his grave at the age of 90.

Anton van Leeuwenhoek was an extraordinary scientist that defied the expectations and belittlement of the science community. He was able to create and discover some of the most important theories in the history of biology. His studies improved health care as we are now able to identify and study microscopic substance in greater detail. Furthermore, his discovery of red blood cells and their shape lead to the development of health science. Because of Anton van Leeuwenhoek’s discoveries, he was able to lead the future of science for centuries to come. Conclusively, he was recognized for his significant work and effort which landed him the title as “The Father of Microbiology”.

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