GCSE Biology: Antony Van Leeuwenhoek

Born 1632, died 1723.

Antony Van Leeuwen hoek was not born a scientist. His parents and his family were all working class traders, yet the endless curiosity and amazing thinking power he had led him to some amazing discoveries.

He was a key figure in the history of biology, being the first to discover bacteria and many microscopic organisms. His research helped us understand red blood cells, sperm cells and opened a gateway to scientific discovery, making over 500 microscopes and hundreds of discoveries.

Many of Antony Van Leeuwenhook's discoveried were aided by his, at the time quite powerful microscoped. Many of these were simply powerful magnifying glasses, unlike today's microscopes. They requires great patience to use, and had to be close to the eye in a well lit area. They were reasonable and approximately 3-4 inches long. At the time grass-grinding technology had not been perfected and Antony Van Leeuwebhoek's magnification was limited to about 200 times.

All of the discoveries he made he carefully recorded, and, not being very good at drawing he hired a profesional to draw what he had discovered. His discriptions are almost instantly recogniseable, and a lot of what he discovered has not been disproven to the current day, forming the basis of modern biology.

In 1963 a society was set up, the Royal Society of London, to which scientists could submit their findings in order to aid others. Antony Van Leeuwebhoek wrote regularly to the society detailing his latest findings.

He never attended a mettin, but was given full membership alongside other biological greats of his day such as Robert Hooke, Henry Oldenbury, Robert Boyle and Christopher Wren.

Now, some of Leeuwenhoek's studies, origional specimens and equipment have been framed at the national soceityshowing what an amazing biologist Antony Van Leeuwebhoek was. His equipment was amazingly precise, and recordings very detailed.

Find out more from these sources:

1. Antony Van Leeuwenhoek
2. Biography of Antony Van Leeuwenhoek
3. Antony van Leeuwenhoek