Leeuwenhoek Anton van
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Leeu·wen·hoekor Leu·wen·hoek (lā′vən-ho͝ok′, lā′ü-wən-ho͞ok′), Anton van 1632-1723.
Dutch microscopy pioneer and naturalist who formulated early descriptions of bacteria and spermatozoa.
Leeu·wen·hoek(lā′vən-ho͝ok′), Anton van 1632-1723.
Dutch naturalist and pioneer of microscopic research. He was the first to describe protozoa, bacteria, and spermatozoa. He also made observations of yeasts, red blood cells, and blood capillaries, and traced the life histories of various animals, including the flea, ant, and weevil.
Biography As a young man, Anton van Leeuwenhoek worked in a drapery store, where he used magnifying glasses to examine the quality of the cloth. This led him to begin building microscopes as a hobby, which he used to examine hair, blood, insects, and other things, keeping detailed records and drawings of his observations. Eventually, van Leeuwenhoek made hundreds of microscopes, each one for a different investigation, with specimens permanently mounted so he could study them as long as he wanted to. Some of the discoveries he made with his microscopes include protozoans (1674), bacteria (1676), blood cells (1674), and the structure of nerves (1717). Van Leeuwenhoek lived a very long life, and he remained active and curious throughout it. By the time of his death at the age of 90, he had made more than 400 microscopes.