Antoine van Leeuwenhoek Facts

Antoine van Leeuwenhoek Facts
Antoine van Leeuwenhoek (October 24, 1632 to August 26, 1723) was a Dutch cloth merchant whose interest in lenses and ground glass led him to develop highly-specialized lenses for microscopy. Due to his advancements and improvements to the microscope, he pioneered the study of microscopic organisms and is known as the Father of Microbiology.
Interesting Antoine van Leeuwenhoek Facts:
van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft to a basket-maker father and a mother whose family was financially comfortable in their trade as brewers.
After his father's death, he began school for a short time but was eventually sent to live with an uncle; while living with his uncle, he apprenticed to a draper, eventually opening his own cloth shop.
As an adult and shop owner in Delft, van Leeuwenhoek enjoyed some notable local recognition as an upstanding business owner and member of the local government.
There has been some speculation over the years that van Leeuwenhoek was tied to the painter, Johannes Vermeer, also of Delft, and that there is a possibility that he served as the model for two of Vermeer's well-known paintings; van Leeuwenhoek was the executor of Vermeer's estate upon the painter's death.
There isn't much information about what prompted van Leeuwenhoek's interest in lens making, although his process for creating tiny lenses has been recorded and studied.
His ability to create tiny spheres of glass from intense heat and long, thin straws of soda lime glass led to the ability to see microscopic particles.
van Leeuwenhoek kept his process a complete secret, especially after becoming widely known for his microscopes, due to the fear that recognized scientists would improve on his model and he would be forgotten.
As it was, he let outsiders remain under the impression that he ground the lenses by hand every night through a painstaking process similar to how large lenses were ground.
After the Royal Society in London published work from an Italian microscope developer, a friend of van Leeuwenhoek wrote to the Society with the news that his microscope lenses were far superior. This led to a brief connection between van Leeuwenhoek and the Royal Society.
Unfortunately, when van Leeuwenhoek eventually shared his observations of single-celled organisms with the Royal Society-organisms that were completely unheard of and not believed, let alone ever before observed-it caused a severe strain in their relationship and in his credibility.
Eventually, a committee from the Royal Society investigated his claims (1677) and he was later offered membership in the Society.
His strong understanding of business practices caused van Leeuwenhoek to be very protective of his inventions and his studies; there are only nine surviving versions of his more than 250 microscopes, although it is believed that he had many more stored away that he didn't share with the public.
The known microscopes carry magnifications up to about 275 times, but it's believed that he had developed 500x magnification lenses.

Related Links:
Scientists Facts
Animals Facts

Educational Videos