Antoni van Leeuwenhoek 384th birthday: 'Father of microbiology' celebrated with Google Doodle

Animated Google Doodle shows the 'little animals' he discovered when looking at a drop of water through a microscope

Samuel Osborne
Monday 24 October 2016 14:16
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5 things to know about Antoni van Leeuwenhoek

Google Doodle is celebrating the life and work of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, who was born today in 1632.

Commonly known as the father of microbiology and considered the first microbiologist, Mr van Leeuwenhoek was the first scientist to observe and describe microorganisms.

The animated Google Doodle shows the "little animals" he discovered when looking at a drop of water from a lake through a microscope. In a letter to the Royal Society of London, he described what we now know are bacteria and other microbes.

He "saw a whole world in a drop of water," Google writes.

Mr van Leeuwenhoek also designed single-lens microscopes, "to unlock the mysteries of everything from bits of cheese to complex insect eyes".

Some of the lenses he designed in his rooms on the Market Square in Delft, Netherlands, had a magnification of more than 200 times and allowed him to examine capillaries, muscle fibers, spermatozoa and blood flow in capillaries.

He did not author any books and his discoveries only came to light through correspondence with the Royal Society, which published his letters.

Doodle designer Gerben Steenks said: “I chose to make it an animated Doodle to show the ‘before and after’ experience that Antoni van Leeuwenhoek had — looking through a microscope and seeing a surprising new world.”

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