Anton van Leeuwenhoek


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Related to Anton van Leeuwenhoek: Theodor Schwann

Leeuwenhoek, Anton Van

 

Born Oct. 24, 1632, in Delft; died there Aug. 26, 1723. Dutch naturalist; founder of scientific microscopy. Member of the Royal Society of London (1680).

Leeuwenhoek earned his living in textile manufacture and haberdashery. He became expert in grinding optical lenses, an activity that filled his spare time. The lenses he made had a magnifying power of 150–300 times. These he inserted in metal holders, with a needle attached to set and fix the object of observation. With the aid of such “microscopes,” Leeuwenhoek became the first to observe and sketch spermatozoa (1677), bacteria (1683), erythrocytes, protozoans, individual plant and animal cells, ova, embryos, muscle tissue, and many other parts and organs of more than 200 species of plants and animals. He was the first to describe parthenogenesis in aphids (1695–1700). Leeuwenhoek was an advocate of preformism, the belief that a fully formed embryo is already contained in the “animalcule,” or spermatozoon. He rejected the possibility of spontaneous generation. Leeuwenhoek described his observations in letters (300 in all), which he sent mainly to the Royal Society of London.

WORKS

Opera omnia. Leiden, 1715–22.
Alle de brieven, vols. 1–5. Amsterdam, 1939–57.

REFERENCES

Takzhin, N. V. Levenguk, ego zhizn’i deiatel’nost’. (Po ego pis’mam). Leningrad, 1946.
Schierbeek, A. Measuring the Invisible World: The Life and Works of A. van Leeuwenhoek London-New York, 1959.

A. E. GAISINOVICH

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WOODEN PAST Wood was among the first things that Anton van Leeuwenhoek looked at as he pioneered microscopy in the 17th century.
On the lower level of the building that housed the microbiology department, I stopped for a moment to look at a large hallway display dedicated to Woese as recipient of the prestigious Leeuwenhoek Medal, named after Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a pioneer microbiologist of the 17th century.
Practicamente desde su descubrimiento en el siglo XVII, con las observaciones del holandes Anton van Leeuwenhoek en microscopios de su invencion, las bacterias fueron consideradas intrusas o invasoras de nuestro cuerpo.
In 1668, Anton van Leeuwenhoek develops optical microscopy, capable of magnifications of 200 times and greater.