Born this day, Anton Van Leeuwenhoek (Oct. 24, 1632, Delft, Netherlands – died Aug. 26, 1723, Delft)
Leeuwenhoek was a Dutch tradesman and scientist from Delft, the Netherlands. He is commonly known as “the Father of Microbiology“, and considered to be the first microbiologist. He was born the son of a basket maker. At age 16, he secured an apprenticeship with a Scottish cloth merchant in Amsterdam. He is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope and for his contributions towards the establishment of microbiology. Using his handcrafted microscopes he was the first to observe and describe single celled organisms, which he originally referred to as animalcules, and which we now refer to as microorganisms. He was also the first to record microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa and blood flow in capillaries. (See more on his life at Wikipedia)
- More information and links on Leeuwenhoek and science during the Dutch Golden Age can be found at Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Centraal.