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Biology | Microbiology


Although van Leeuwenhoek was not the inventor of the microscope, he advanced it more than anyone else for seeing living things.

Antony van Leeuwenhoek1 (Fig. 1) found great joy in God’s smallest creatures. He first discovered protozoans in his youth. The Dutch haberdasher retained a child-like joy of discovery from his youth until his death at age 90. He lived to see tiny microbes though his homemade microscopes. He loved to grind and focus a new lens in order to see the unseen world. Leeuwenhoek spent countless hours grinding tiny lenses and looking through them. This Christian lay biologist even used candlelight to see specimens at night. For Leeuwenhoek, the amazing diversity of tiny life forms revealed under his homemade microscopes glorified God as much as looking at stars through a telescope. Leeuwenhoek was born in South Holland in 1632. As a young adult, he became a cloth merchant (also called a draper, or haberdasher). In 1668, he started his biological study as a hobby after seeing beautiful microscopic pictures while making a visit to London. After years of careful study, Leeuwenhoek (Fig. 2) made the microscope famous. In his lifetime, he became the father of microbiology and opened mankind to the world of microorganisms.