The Men Who Made Up The History Of Cells



Anton van Leeuwenhoek, born Oct. 24, 1632, was a Dutch biologist and microscopist. He became interested in science when, as a Dutch businessman, he began grinding lenses and building simple microscopes as a hobby. Each microscope consisted of a flat brass or copper plate in which a small, single glass lens was mounted. The lens was held up to the eye, and the object to be studied was placed on the head of a movable pin just on the other side of the lens. Leeuwenhoek made over 400 microscopes, many of which still exist. The most powerful of these instruments can magnify objects about 275 times.

Although future microscopes were to contain more than one lens (compound microscopes), Leeuwenhock's single lens was ground to such perfection that he was able to make great advances and to draw attention to his field. Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe single-celled animals (protozoa) with a microscope. He described them in a letter to the Royal Society, which published his detailed pictures in 1683. Leeuwenhoek was also the first person, using a microscope, to observe clearly and to describe red blood cells in humans and other animals, as well as sperm cells. In addition, he studied the structure of plants, the compound eyes of insects, and the life cycles of fleas, aphids, and ants.

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