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Chapter 5 : Antony van Leeuwenhoek and the Birth of Microscopy

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Abstract:

Antony van Leeuwenhoek dabbled in his newly discovered world of microscopy with no direction or refinement, scribbling images in his notebooks without ever presenting them to the outside world. Recent investigations into van Leeuwenhoek's life have shown him to be "one of the most imperfectly understood figures" in the history of science. While a new world of microorganisms had been revealed, van Leeuwenhoek did not make any connection between these microorganisms and disease. While van Leeuwenhoek was the first to witness the living organisms, bacteria, in association with humans, these persons were not ill. Some historians have taken van Leeuwenhoek to task for not making an association between microorganisms and the nature of infectious illnesses. For all his discoveries, the academic climate in Europe in the 18th century lacked the spark to include microscopy in research. Some universities, including Leiden in Holland, had included microscopes among their teaching instruments, but medical instruction in microscopy appeared to actually decline during the 18th century. The waning interest in microscopy in the 18th century cannot diminish van Leeuwenhoek's 50 years of pioneering contributions that changed the way we think of the living world.

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and the Birth of Microscopy, p 63-77. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch5
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and the Birth of Microscopy, p 63-77. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch5
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and the Birth of Microscopy, p 63-77. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch5
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Antony van Leeuwenhoek. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine. 10.1128/9781555817220.ch5.f1

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and the Birth of Microscopy, p 63-77. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch5
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References

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1. Dobell, C. 1932. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His Little Animals, p. 218. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
2. Dobell, C. 1932. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His Little Animals, p. 1955. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
3. Dobell, C. 1932. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His Little Animals, p. 5660. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
4. Dobell, C. 1932. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His Little Animals, p. 110166. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
5. Dobell, C. 1932. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His Little Animals, p. 239240. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
6. Dobell, C. 1932. Antony van Leeuwenhoek and His Little Animals, p. 313331. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
7. Ford, B. J. 1981. Specimens from the dawn of microscopy. Biologist 28(4):180181.
8. Ford, B. J. 1991. The Leeuwenhoek Legacy, p. 127140. Biopress and Far-rand Press, London, United Kingdom.
9. Ford, B. J. 1992. From dilettante to diligent experimenter, a reappraisal of Leeuwenhoek as microscopist and investigator. Biol. History 5:112.
10. Ruestow, E. G. 1996. The Microscope in the Dutch Republic, p. 202222. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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