Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

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by sonnetp
Last updated 7 years ago

Scientific Biographies

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Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in October of 1632 in Delft, Holland into a family of basket-makers and brewers. Early in his life, after basic education, he worked as an apprentice to and then as a self-established fabric merchant. Among various other jobs, he also worked as a city chamberlain. During his twenties and thirties, he aquired the skills of lens grinding and simple microscope construction, which led him to begin studying things with them. He was inspired by Robert Hooke and other microscopists who preceded him.

Relationship to Authority

Leeuwenhoek's discoveries were highly applauded by many scientists and other societal authorities. When he died, the pastor of Holland's New Church in Delft wrote a praiseful letter to the Royal Society, to which Leeuwenhoek himself wrote many letters chronicling his discoveries throughout his lifetime.

He developed new, more effective single-lens microscopes, creating over 500 of them in his lifetime.He was the first to discover microscopic organisms and bacteria, which he called "animalcules."He discovered and documented many types of human cells, such as blood cells and semen.

Leeuwenhoek's discoveries and observations have laid the foundation for modern biology and the study of cells, bacteria, and protozoa. He also completely revolutionized microscopy among scientists of his time.

Works Cited

"Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek (Dutch Scientist)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 14 Nov. 2013."Antony Van Leeuwenhoek." University of California Museum of Paleontology. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.Bellis, Mary. "Anton Van Leeuwenhoek - Biography of Anton Van Leeuwenhoek." Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

Antoine van Leeuwenhoek


Scientific Accomplisments

". . . my work, which I've done for a long time, was not pursued in order to gain the praise I now enjoy, but chiefly from a craving after knowledge, which I notice resides in me more than in most other men. " -Leeuwenhoek

Effects on Western Life

Published Works

Leeuwenhoek did not write any of his own books, but his writings were frequently published in two different journals: Philosophical Transactions and Memoirs of the Paris Academy of Sciences. Collections of his works were also published at various times during and after his life.

"I most always saw, with great wonder, that in the said matter there were many very little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving." --Leeuwenhoek


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